Backgrid, an entertainment photo agency, told the BBC on Friday, May 19, that they received a letter from the Sussexes regarding the photos taken at the scene of the incident.
“We hereby demand that Backgrid immediately provide us with copies of all photos, videos, and/or films taken last night by the freelance photographers after the couple left their event and over the next several hours,” the couple allegedly penned in their request, per BBC. (Us Weekly has reached out to Harry, 38, and Meghan, 41, for comment.)
Backgrid told the news outlet in a statement that they had rejected the demand, sharing the legal response they sent back. Their message read: “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. … Perhaps you should sit down with your client and advise them that his English rules of royal prerogative to demand that the citizenry hand over their property to the Crown were rejected by this country long ago. We stand by our founding fathers.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as well as Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, had been followed by 12 “highly aggressive” photographers for over two hours after they left the 2023 Women of Vision Awards on Tuesday, May 16.
“This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near-collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers,” the duo’s spokesperson said at the time. “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.”
A source later told Us that the trio, who had traveled from California for the Manhattan event, were “terrified throughout the whole ordeal” and are “still very upset.”
The Archewell cofounders’ security detail later recounted the “very chaotic” scene, noting that it could have been fatal.
“I have never seen [or] experienced anything like this. What we were dealing with was very chaotic. There were about a dozen vehicles: cars, scooters and bicycles,” Chris Sanchez told CNN on Wednesday, May 17. “The public were in jeopardy at several points. … They were jumping curbs and red lights. At one point they blocked the limousine [carrying the couple] and started taking pictures until we were able to get out.”
The New York Police Department, however, denied that there were any collisions during the Tuesday incident.
“The NYPD assisted the private security team protecting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex,” a statement read at the time. “There were numerous photographers that made their transport challenging. There were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries or arrests in regard.”
Harry and Meghan had hopped in driver Sukhcharn Singh‘s taxi after their security team flagged him down after the ceremony. Singh, for his part, told BBC News that he thought they had “exaggerated” the account.
“They looked nervous, I think they were being chased the whole day or something. They were pretty nervous, but the security guard, he was on it,” Singh said before questioning the claims that the situation was dangerous. “I don’t think that’s true, I think that’s all exaggerated and stuff like that. Don’t read too much into that. New York City’s the safest place to be. There’s police stations, cops on every corner, there’s no reason to be afraid in New York.”
Harry and Meghan — who are celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary on Friday — have not further addressed the car chase.