Timeline of the paparazzi pursuit in New York, and all the unanswered questions
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were pursued by paparazzi in New York city on Tuesday – but unanswered questions remain over exactly what happened as the night unfolded.
The Duchess of Sussex’s mother, Doria Ragland, was also in the car as photographers followed them through Manhattan, New York City, in what their spokesperson claimed to be a “near catastrophic” car chase.
The New York Police Department (NYPD), the force assisting the couple on the night, has disputed that it was “near catastrophic” but acknowledged that there was a “chaotic scene”.
i has a rundown of the timeline and what has been said by the witnesses and those involved.
10pm: Harry and Meghan leave charity event
The Sussexes had travelled to New York for the Duchess to receive the Ms. Foundation Women of Vision Award.
The couple entered the event at the Ziegfeld Ballroom via a nearby Hertz car rental building to avoid the paparazzi, according to reports.
They left the venue at about 10pm and got into an SUV, surrounded by crowds of people and photographers.
75-minute pursuit through Manhattan
Blacked-out vehicles began to follow the SUV after they left the event.
The couple’s spokesperson claimed they were subjected to a “relentless pursuit” for more than two hours that was “near catastrophic”.
It is understood that they did not want to give up the location of the friend’s address where they were staying, so did not feel they could return there during the pursuit.
NYPD said photographers made transporting the couple “challenging”, but there were no reported collisions, injuries or arrests.
The pursuit lasted for 75 minutes, with photographers following the couple around 57th Street, Franklin D Roosevelt Drive, and nearby roads, according to officers.
There were reports of dangerous driving, with claims that the paparazzi drove on a pavement, ran red lights, and drove against the flow of traffic on a one-way street.
11.15pm: couple arrive at NYPD station
Police intervened and helped the group travel to the NYPD’s 19th precinct, 1.4 miles from the Ziegfeld Ballroom.
Reports said they stayed at the police station for about 15 minutes before leaving in a taxi once the situation died down. The taxi was flagged down by a member of their security team.
11:30pm: the group gets into a taxi
The taxi driver, Sukhcharn Singh, told the Washington Post he picked up Harry, Meghan and Ms Ragland around 11pm. However, the timeline suggests this would have been closer to 11:30pm.
Mr Singh said photographers were trying to take photos and videos while the Sussexes were in his car, but he did not feel as though he was in danger.
The journey only lasted 10 minutes as the security guard who was travelling with the group grew “concerned” about two vehicles that started to follow the taxi a few minutes into the trip, Mr Singh said.
He noticed a black Honda Accord and an older grey Honda CR-V following him as he drove down Park Avenue before turning south.
The unanswered questions
How serious was the pursuit?
Unanswered questions remain over how serious the incident was, with differing reports from those involved.
The Sussexes’ spokesperson Ashley Hansen said the couple was “incredibly scared and shaken up” by the pursuit which involved “highly aggressive” paparazzi.
NYPD gave a less serious account, stating it was not “near catastrophic”.
Police said transporting the couple was “challenging” but “there were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries, or arrests”.
Eric Adams, mayor of New York City, told paparazzi that “public safety must always be at the forefront” and said the behaviour of those following the couple was “reckless and irresponsible”.
Taxi driver Sukhcharn Singh said: “I never felt like I was in danger. It wasn’t like a car chase in a movie. (The Sussexes) were quiet and seemed scared but it’s New York – it’s safe.”
He told BBC News he did not feel paparazzi were being aggressive and the Sussexes’ claim may have been “exaggerated”.
One of the photographers involved said it was “very tense trying to keep up with the vehicle” but shifted the blame to the Sussexes.
It was “their driver who was making it a catastrophic experience”, he said.
How fast was the chase?
A spokesperson for the couple described the incident as a “relentless” car chase that “resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians, and two NYPD officers”.
Footage shared by TMZ showed the couple in a yellow cab stuck in traffic several blocks away from the ballroom while being escorted by NYPD vehicles with flashing lights.
In a contrasting account, one of the photographers in pursuit of the couple alleged that the Sussexes’ driver was going 80mph while he was going at 20mph, “hoping to keep sight of them”. He did not provide any evidence to back up his claim.
He told Good Morning Britain that one of the cars in their convoy was driving fast, cutting through lanes and using “different types of manoeuvres” to break away from the photographers.
How long did it go on for?
There are differing reports over how long the chase was, with the Sussexes’ spokesperson saying the incident lasted more than two hours overall.
However, police sources in New York told Sky News that the couple did not want to be followed after the event so they were driven across 57th Street and other streets for about an hour and fifteen minutes. One NYPD vehicle escorted their vehicle.
It is unclear when photographers actually started to tail the Sussexes.
The taxi was asked to return to the original pickup location at the 19th precinct.
Footage published by TMZ from the celebrity picture agency Backgrid, which received pictures of the couple from photographers, showed the Sussexes in a cab stuck in traffic.
At the end of the video, the person filming appears to run down the street as the taxi turns right and shouts out directions about the route that the Sussexes would take next.
11.40pm: Harry, Meghan and Doria get into another car
The group got into another car that picked them up from the 19th precinct. They travelled to the apartment where they were staying on the Upper East Side without being followed.
Buckingham Palace has refused to comment on the incident.