Prince Harry car chase 'the closest' he has felt to night of Diana's death

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - MAY 16: Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle and Duke of Sussex Prince Harry attend the ceremony, which benefits the Ms. Foundation for Women and feminist movements, in New York, United States on May 16, 2023. Meghan Markle who wears a gold dress for Women of Vision Gala receives 2023 Women of Vision award from Gloria Steinem at Ziegfeld Ballroom on Tuesday night in New York City. (Photo by Selcuk Acar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Harry and Meghan pictured on the night of the incident. (Getty)

Harry and Meghan's car chase with the paparazzi is the "closest" the duke has felt to understanding what happened to his mother on the night she died.

A source has confirmed to Yahoo News the incident in New York on Tuesday night left him with a better feeling of what Prince Diana went through prior to her death in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel in Paris in August 1997.

In a statement on Wednesday, a spokesman for the couple said they and Meghan’s mother “were involved in a near catastrophic car chase at the hands of a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi” which lasted two hours.

The duke and duchess had been at the Ms Foundation For Women’s 50th anniversary gala event.

Paparazzi have denied there were any near-crashes, while the NYPD said “numerous photographers” made the couple’s journey “challenging” but there were “no reported collisions, summonses, injuries, or arrests”.

New York City cab driver Sukhcharn Singh poses for a photo with his taxi in the Queens borough of New York, Wednesday, May 17, 2023. Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, were pursued in their car by photographers after a charity event in New York, Tuesday evening May 16, 2023. With the help of police, the couple was eventually able to switch to Singh's taxi cab and be whisked away, according to a law enforcement official who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter and did so on condition of anonymity. (AP Photo/David R. Martin)
New York City cab driver Sukhcharn Singh says he transported Harry and Meghan for part of the journey. (AP)

Police sources speaking to ABC News have disputed some of the details, saying that officers' interaction with Harry and Meghan lasted no longer than 20 minutes and that if it carried on for two hours it would have been as a result of the couple’s security deciding to take an alternative route back to where they were staying.

A taxi driver who drove Harry and Meghan at one point during the evening has also played down the incident.

Read more: How much money do paparazzi photographers make?

However, Chris Sanchez, a member of Harry and Meghan’s security detail, backed up the royal couple’s statement, describing the chase as “chaotic”. He told CNN: “What we were dealing with was very chaotic. There were about a dozen vehicles: cars, scooters and bicycles.

“The public [was] in jeopardy at several points. It could have been fatal.

And another eyewitness said the paparazzi were being "aggressive" and goaded the couple before pursuing them.

Backgrid, the photo agency that took pictures, has since reportedly refused a demand to hand the images over.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 06: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Jack Brooksbank (R) attend the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla on May 6, 2023 in London, England. The Coronation of Charles III and his wife, Camilla, as King and Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the other Commonwealth realms takes place at Westminster Abbey today. Charles acceded to the throne on 8 September 2022, upon the death of his mother, Elizabeth II. (Photo by Dan Charity - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
It was Harry's first public appearance together since the King’s coronation on May 6. (Getty)

According to the BBC, Backgrid said it had received a letter from the Sussexes' legal team demanding "copies of all photos, videos, and/or films" taken on Tuesday night by freelance photographers after the couple left the event and the hours following.

The agency said it had replied in a letter that it rejects "English rules of royal prerogative".

"In America, as I'm sure you know, property belongs to the owner of it: Third parties cannot just demand it be given to them, as perhaps Kings can do."

Read more: Who said what about Harry and Meghan 'car chase'?

New York mayor Eric Adams condemned the photographers for being “reckless and irresponsible”.

He added that it would be “horrific” for Harry to be involved in an accident similar to the one that killed his mother.

Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in a crash after her car, driven at speed by a drunk chauffeur, was chased through the streets of Paris by paparazzi photographers.

Rishi Sunak appeared to dismiss the incident while on a visit to Japan afterwards, saying: “Cars in New York are not really my priority or my responsibility.

“What is my priority and responsibility is people’s safety at home.”