Harry and Meghan’s Manhattan car chase was ‘dangerous’ after all, NYPD found

Harry and Meghan’s Manhattan car chase was ‘dangerous’ after all, NYPD found

Before Prince Harry learned Wednesday that he had lost his legal battle over the security arrangements he’s  entitled to while visiting the U.K., he knew that the New York City Police Department was at least sympathetic to his concerns.

In fact, Harry may believe that he received vindication from the NYPD in December over the widely derided claims that he and his wife Meghan Markle made six months earlier about being involved in a “near catastrophic” two-hour car chase with paparazzi in Manhattan, the Daily Beast reported.

The NYPD  found that the behavior of the paparazzi pursuing Harry, Meghan and her mother, Doria Ragland, was not just “reckless” but also “persistently dangerous,” the Daily Beast had said. Harry and Meghan claimed that the nighttime pursuit through the streets of Manhattan caused “multiple near collisions” with other drivers, pedestrians and police officers.”

In a letter to London’s Metropolitan Police, Dec. 6, 2023, the NYPD’s Chief of Intelligence explained that “certain changes to the security posture” will be provided to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex when they next visit the city, following a “thorough review” of the incident, the Daily Beast reported.

The intelligence chief wrote: “We found the following: reckless disregard of vehicle and traffic laws and persistently dangerous and unacceptable behavior on the part of the paparazzi during the night in question,” the Daily Beast reported. The intelligence chief also said that the Manhattan District Attorney’s office concluded there was sufficient evidence to arrest two individuals for “reckless endangerment,” though no arrests had yet taken place.

This opinion represents a major turnaround for the NYPD, which originally joined Mayor Eric Adams and a cab driver who briefly transported the couple during the incident in suggesting that there was no car chase.

A spokesperson for the police department downplayed the seriousness of the pursuit at the time, saying “The NYPD assisted the private security team protecting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. There were numerous photographers that made their transport challenging. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at their destination and there were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries, or arrests in regard.”

The police in June also said that Sussexes’ claims warranted “no further investigation.” Meanwhile, their car-chase description also was challenged by an extensive report by the New York Times, and “pretty much anyone who has ever sat in a Manhattan traffic jam” mocked the couple or suggested that the couple exaggerated the nature of the pursuit, the Daily Beast said.

On The View, Whoopi Goldberg even cracked jokes about the couple’s claims, saying, “If it was possible to have car chases in New York, we’d all make it to the theatre on time.”

Goldberg continued, “I think their spokesperson referenced something you generally would reference in Los Angeles. That’s where you have chases, that’s where you can move at high speeds.”

The NYPD’s intelligence chief didn’t necessarily mention high speeds in the briefing, but said that the paparazzi pursuing Harry and Meghan in cars and on scooters and bicycles showed “reckless disregard of vehicle and traffic laws.” The photographers forced the Sussexes’ security team, which included an NYPD escort, “to take evasive actions on several occasions and a circuitous route to avoid being struck by pursuing vehicles or trapped on side blocks.”

The intelligence chief’s briefing was revealed Wednesday in Harry’s court case in the U.K., the Daily Beast reported.

The California-based son of King Charles III filed a lawsuit with the British government over its 2020 decision that he, Meghan and their two children — Prince Archie, 4, and Princess Lilibet, 2 — were no longer entitled to the “same degree” of taxpayer-funded security when visiting Britain because they had stopped working as senior members of the royal family, The Telegraph reported.

Instead, a government committee created a “bespoke” approach that involved assessing each visit on its merits, but Harry said this approach has resulted in him being denied police protection on each subsequent return to the U.K., The Telegraph reported.

A judge in London’s High Court dismissed Harry’s argument that the committee’s decisions on his security weren’t legal or based on sound consideration of the risks to him and his family, reported. Harry has vowed to appeal the ruling.