The New York Police Department confirmed that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were involved in a “challenging” incident after their appearance at the 2023 Women of Vision Awards on Tuesday, May 16.
“The NYPD assisted the private security team protecting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex,” the department said in a statement on Wednesday, May 17. “There were numerous photographers that made their transport challenging.”
Officials clarified that the Spare author, 38, and his wife, 41, eventually arrived at their destination safely. “There were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries or arrests in regard,” the NYPD added.
Earlier on Wednesday, a rep for the Sussexes said that the duo and Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, were leaving the awards ceremony on Tuesday night when they were followed by “a ring of highly aggressive” photographers.
“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 continued. “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 former actress and the Invictus Games founder were in town for the Ms. Foundation’s Women of Vision Awards, where Meghan was presented with the Women of Vision honor by activist Gloria Steinem. According to the ceremony’s website, the Bench author 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 Harry, Meghan, and Ragland, 66, “were terrified throughout the whole ordeal” in the car. The source added that the trio left the event around 10 p.m. in a yellow cab in an attempt to avoid paparazzi waiting at the venue.
“Everyone is still very upset,” the insider added, noting that the car was “frighteningly pursued” by photographers.
Harry has been open over the years about his feelings on the dangers of intrusive paparazzi. His mother, Princess Diana, died at age 36 in a 1997 car crash in Paris with her then-boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, while their driver was attempting to flee photographers.
Earlier this year, the former military pilot revealed that he spent more than a decade hoping that his mother’s death was somehow a hoax. “For a long time. I just refused to accept that she was gone,” Harry explained during a 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper in January. “Part of [it was] she would never do this to us. But also, part of it maybe [felt like] this is all part of a plan. For a time [I believed she was alive] and then she would call us, and we would go and join her.”
The BetterUp CIO added that he had discussed the idea with his brother, Prince William. “He had similar thoughts,” Harry said of the Prince of Wales, 40.
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William, for his part, said that he was in “shock” for as many as seven years following Diana’s passing. “Slowly, you try to rebuild your life, you try to understand what happened,” he said in the 2017 documentary Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy. “I kept myself busy, as well, to allow you to get yourself through that initial shock phase.”