Prince Harry warned about the threats of the media to his family for years before New York car chase
A spokesperson for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle said they were chased by paparazzi in New York.
The rep called the incident a "near catastrophic car chase."
Harry's mother Princess Diana died in a car crash in 1997 after being pursued by paparazzi.
On Tuesday, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle grinned as they walked a red carpet in New York City for the Women of Vision awards ceremony, the weight of King Charles' coronation off their shoulders.
Hours later, Harry, Meghan, and her mother Doria Ragland were involved in what the couple's representative called a "near catastrophic car chase" in a statement shared with royal reporter Omid Scobie.
"This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians, and two NYPD officers," the spokesperson said in the statement.
In a statement to Insider, the NYPD said it "assisted the private security team protecting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex" on Tuesday night.
"There were numerous photographers that made their transport challenging," Julian Phillips, the deputy commissioner for public information at the NYPD, said in his statement. "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at their destination and there were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries, or arrests in regard."
Representatives for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
Scobie also said in a follow-up tweet that paparazzi ignored uniformed police officers and traffic laws while pursuing the trio.
"Traffic violations by the drivers include driving on a sidewalk, going through red lights, reversing down a one way street, driving while photographing and illegally blocking a moving vehicle," Scobie said, adding that a source close to the Sussexes said they are "understandably shaken but thankful everyone's safe."
The car chase reminded many of how Harry's mother Princess Diana died in 1997 in a car crash after being pursued by the paparazzi, and it's something Harry has been warning about for years.
Prince Harry has warned for years that he feared Meghan would meet the same fate as his mother
Harry has pointed to similarities between the way Meghan has been treated by the tabloids to Princess Diana's experience on multiple occasions, saying he feared his wife's safety would be jeopardized as his mother's was.
Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997 after being pursued by paparazzi.
In 2019, Harry condemned the press' treatment of Meghan in a statement, saying: "I've seen what happens when someone I love is commoditized to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces."
He repeated the sentiment during his interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021, where he said his "biggest concern was history repeating itself."
He even went as far as to say he feared the British tabloids wouldn't rest until Meghan was dead in the 2021 Apple TV+ docuseries "The Me You Can't See."
"My mother was chased to her death while she was in a relationship with someone who wasn't white, and now look what's happened," he said, noting that Diana was dating Egyptian film producer Dodi Fayed when she died. "You want to talk about history repeating itself? They're not gonna stop until she dies."
His family's physical safety was also one of the prince's biggest concerns after he and Meghan stepped back as senior royals given that they no longer had access to royal security. In September 2021, Harry appealed for a judicial review of a government decision that barred him from personally paying for police protection while in the UK. The lack of protection meant Harry and his family were "unable to return to his home," a spokesperson for the prince said at the time.
The chase proved Harry's fears had merit, but it's not the first time he and Meghan have been at risk
Harry's fears have often been met with criticism, as some members of the public were skeptical that he and Meghan were truly in danger because of their royal lives.
For instance, they were met with backlash when their Netflix docuseries "Harry & Meghan" was released in 2022, as it included photos and videos of the paparazzi that appeared to be unrelated to the couple. The series included shots of the couple being followed as well.
Likewise, people have criticized Harry and Meghan for releasing a Netflix series and Harry's memoir "Spare" after stepping back, claiming the couple wanted privacy. But as BuzzFeed's Ellie Hall reported, the pair have only ever advocated for wanting the media to be less invasive toward them.
Despite these criticisms, Harry's fears have proved true on multiple occasions.
Outgoing Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Neil Basu said in a November 2022 interview with UK's Channel 4 News that there were multiple credible threats against Meghan's safety when she was a working royal, which he described as "disgusting and very real."
Harry and Meghan also revealed in their Netflix docuseries that they had to hire a driver who specialized in "evasive driving" when Meghan was still filming "Suits" in 2017 to stop tabloid reporters from following her.
And on Thursday, Harry found himself in almost the exact same situation as his mother was — trapped in a car with the person he loved as someone desperately tried to take his photo.
Correction: May 18, 2023 — The headline of this story originally included an unattributed quote from the Sussex spokesperson. The headline now reads that Prince Harry and Meghan were in a New York car chase, not a "near catastrophic car chase."
Read the original article on Insider