A member of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s security detail opened up about their involvement in a “chaotic” car chase in New York City — and claimed the incident could have ended with fatalities.
“I have never seen [or] experienced anything like this. What we were dealing with was very chaotic. There were about a dozen vehicles: cars, scooters and bicycles,” Chris Sanchez told CNN on Wednesday, May 17. “The public were in jeopardy at several points. It could have been fatal. They were jumping curbs and red lights. At one point they blocked the limousine [carrying the couple] and started taking pictures until we were able to get out.”
Earlier on Wednesday, a rep for the Sussexes confirmed that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, were followed by “a ring of highly aggressive” photographers while leaving the 2023 Women of Vision Awards in New York City on Tuesday, May 16.
“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 shared. “While being a public figure comes with a level of interest from the public, it should never come at the cost of anyone’s safety. Dissemination of these images, given the ways in which they were obtained, encourages a highly intrusive practice that is dangerous to all involved.”
The New York Police Department later clarified in a statement that Harry, 38, and Meghan, 41, eventually arrived at their destination safely. “There were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries or arrests in regard,” the NYPD added.
Sanchez, for his part, explained to CNN that he was “concerned” about the royals but was more focused on the public due to the paparazzi “being so erratic.”
“People were on sidewalks and crossing streets and the [paparazzi] were crossing red lights. We did everything by the letter of law,” he continued.
The security officer added that while the BetterUp CIO and the Suits alum were “scared” and “exhausted,” they were mostly “relieved to be back” home in California.
Harry and Meghan were in town for the awards ceremony, where the Bench author was presented with the Women of Vision honor by activist Gloria Steinem. According to the website, the “Archetypes” podcast host was honored as a “champion of human rights and gender equity” and for her “lifelong advocacy for women and girls.”
After the event, an insider exclusively told Us Weekly that the couple and Ragland, 66, “were terrified throughout the whole ordeal” while in the car, noting that the trio left the event around 10 p.m. in a yellow cab in an attempt to avoid photographers waiting outside the venue.
“Everyone is still very upset,” the source shared at the time, adding that the vehicle was “frighteningly pursued” by paparazzi.
The mayor of New York City, Eric Adams, blasted the photographers involved on Tuesday night, calling the incident “reckless” and “irresponsible.” Buckingham Palace, meanwhile, declined to comment on the matter.
The Invictus Games founder has often been open about this fear regarding intrusive paps over the years. His mother, the late Princess Diana, died at age 36 in a fatal car crash in Paris with then-boyfriend Dadi Faved while the driver was attempting to escape photographers.
After Harry and Meghan — who share son Prince Archie, 4, and daughter Princess Lilibet, 23 months — stepped down from their senior royal duties in March 2020, the pair lost their official royal security. (The Firm continued to protect his uncle Prince Andrew amid a sexual assault scandal.)
In his memoir, Spare, the prince revealed that he “never” thought he would lose protection from the palace “in this climate of hate.”
“Not after what happened to my mother,” he explained. “Also, not in the wake of my Uncle Andrew. He was embroiled in a shameful scandal, accused of the sexual assault of a young woman and no one had so much suggested that he lose his security. Whatever grievances people had against us, sex crimes weren’t on the list.”