Prince Harry’s rep’s claim about dangerous conditions on big city roads may not be entirely true.
Prince Harry was mobbed by paparazzi in New York on Tuesday evening local time.
A representative for the Duke of Sussex described the situation as an “almost disastrous chase” in which the prince was chased around the streets of the big city for “more than two hours”. According to the rep, “very aggressive paparazzi” caused several near misses.
However, according to information received on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning Finland time, the sequence of events was not so clear.
What is indisputable is that Harry, her husband Meghan Markle and her mother Doria Ragland were at a charity event, from where they left in a taxi. The group was also whisked away from the spot by the paparazzi, but from here on there are differing opinions on what happened next.
A New York police statement cited by CNN corroborates part of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s story, but not in such dramatic terms. Police say they assisted Harry’s bodyguards in moving the prince and say the many photographers made the task “challenging”.
– The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have arrived at their destination and we are not aware of any accidents, injuries or arrests related to the situation, says Julian Phillips, who is responsible for police information.
READ MORE: Reuters: Prince Harry chased for hours in New York – chase puts many onlookers at risk
Several media organisations, including the BBC, also contacted taxi driver Sukhcharan Singh, who drove the prince and his motorcade away from the event.
Singh took the trio to a nearby police station for about 10 minutes and did not consider the journey dangerous. Singh was surprised by the paparazzi’s enthusiasm, but did not find their behavior particularly offensive during the taxi ride.
– They were behind us and close to our set, but kept their distance. Singh says it was nothing more, it was just journalism.
However, Singh’s position represents only part of the course of the evening and it differs markedly from the account of Chris Sanchez, a member of Harry’s security team who was contacted by CNN. According to Sanchez, the Duke and Duchess were followed by “about a dozen” vehicles “along the sidewalk” and “towards a red light”.
– I have never seen anything like it. It was complete chaos, says Sanchez.
READ MORE: Taxi driver who took Prince Harry to WP: ‘I wouldn’t call it a chase’
A source accessed by CNN within the New York Police Department supports at least part of Sanchez’s story.
According to the source, throughout the evening, the prince was followed by a “swarm” of paparazzi on cars, scooters and motorcycles. The police were traveling with the prince and he had to dodge these photographers. According to the source, paparazzi traveling on mopeds also used the footpath as a shortcut when the prince could get too far.
Despite the dangers, there were no casualties in the end according to this source as well. The mayor of New York, Eric Adams, accused the paparazzi of being “irresponsible”, but denied the Sussexes’ story that the “stalk” described could have happened in his city.
I don’t think a two-hour chase would have happened here, he said in a speech quoted by the New York Times, adding that even a ten-minute chase in the city would be “extremely dangerous”. ,
Despite his doubts, Adams also brought to the surface what many people were thinking when they heard about it.
Referring to the tragic death of Princess Diana in 1997, Adams said, “I don’t think many of us have forgotten how her mother died.”
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