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Prince Harry and Meghan involved in 'near catastrophic car chase with paparazzi' across New York

Harry and Meghan are pictured leaving a New York awards ceremony before the car chase

Prince Harry, his wife Meghan and her mother were involved in a "near catastrophic" car chase after being followed by paparazzi, according to his spokesperson.

Two New York police officials have said they do not believe the chase was "near catastrophic" and described a "bit of a chaotic scene" as the Sussexes tried to get back to their residence without being followed.

Harry's spokesperson had said: "Last night, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Ms Ragland were involved in a near catastrophic car chase at the hands of a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi.

"This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD (New York Police Department) officers.

"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."

Harry, Meghan and her mother Doria Ragland are understood to have been followed by half a dozen blacked-out vehicles which were being driven by unidentified people.

The vehicles are said to have driven on pavements, jumped red lights and reversed down a one-way street.

It is also understood at least one driver was using their phone behind the wheel.

At least one other is said to have been photographing while driving.

One of the cars is also thought to have illegally blocked a moving vehicle.

Those pursuing the Sussexes are understood to have been confronted by uniformed police multiple times but continued their pursuit.

Harry and Meghan are thought to have been staying at a private residence and did not want to compromise the security of their friend's home.

The Sussexes are understood to accept a heightened level of attention when they are at public events, and prior to the chase they are said to have exited and entered the New York venue publicly, allowing photographers to get pictures.

Omid Scobie, who wrote the book "Finding Freedom" about Harry and Meghan, has tweeted to say a source has said the Sussexes and Ms Ragland are "understandably shaken but thankful everyone's safe".

The chase happened after Harry and Meghan had attended an awards ceremony at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York on Tuesday - their first public appearance since the King's coronation.

Pictures that have appeared on social media have shown Harry, Meghan and her mother, Doria Ragland, in a taxi.

The Duchess of Sussex had encouraged women to fight for equity at the Ms. Foundation for Women's annual gala. 

"It's never too late to start," she said at the event in New York. "You can be the visionary of your own life... There is still so much work to be done."

Harry and Meghan stepped down from their royal roles in 2020 and moved to the United States partly because of what they described as intense media harassment.

The prince has long spoken out about his anger about press intrusion which he blames for the death of his mother, Princess Diana, who was killed when her limousine crashed as it sped away from chasing paparazzi in Paris in 1997.

The car chase comes after a man was reportedly arrested outside Harry and Meghan's home for stalking in the early hours of Monday, according to TMZ.

A representative for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office told the celebrity news site they got a call from security staffers at the couple's LA mansion at around 2am local time.

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