The office of Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, said on Wednesday that the couple and Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, were followed for more than two hours by half a dozen vehicles with blacked-out windows after leaving a charity event in New York.
The spokesperson described the chase as "near catastrophic" and said that it "resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD [New York Police Department] officers."
"While being a public figure comes with a level of interest form the public, it should never come at the cost of anybody's safety," the statement said.
New York's Mayor Eric Adams told reporters that while he had not received a full briefing, he had been told that "two of our officers could have been injured."
Adams called it "reckless and irresponsible" for anyone to be chasing people in vehicles in a densely populated city. He expressed some doubts about the stated duration of more than 2 hours but said that was not really the point.
"If it's 10 minutes, a 10-minute chase is extremely dangerous in New York City," he said.
The NYPD issued a statement soon after confirming an incident had occurred, and that officers had assisted the couple's private security team.
"There were numerous photographers that made their transport challenging," the statement said. "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at their destination and there were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries, or arrests in regard."
Scenes described evoke memories of Diana's death
The scenes as described are reminiscent of the circumstances in which Harry's mother, the late Princess Diana of Wales, famously died in Paris in 1997.
She died in a car crash late at night in a tunnel in Paris while her driver was trying to evade paparazzi photographers.
Harry spoke at length about this event and its effect on his early and later life when discussing his current campaign against media attention on him and his family in his highly successful book and Netflix series and other media appearances.
The prince has filed lawsuits against three British tabloids for alleged phone hacking and other unlawful snooping since giving up his position as a senior royal and moving to Canada, and then ultimately the US.
Last week, The Daily Mirror issued a statement apologizing "unreservedly" and saying that the prince was entitled to "appropriate compensation," without providing further details on the apparent out-of-court settlement. Harry is pursuing two more claims against the publishers of The Sun and of The Daily Mail, cases currently scheduled to conclude this year.
msh/jcg (AFP, AP, Reuters)