NEW YORK — Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, were trailed in their car by photographers as they left a New York City charity event Tuesday night, briefly taking refuge at a police station before being whisked away in a yellow taxicab.
The pursuit and media frenzy evoked memories of the 1997 car chase through Paris that killed Harry's mother, Princess Diana — though in this case, police said, no one was hurt.
The royal couple set off alarms when their spokesperson claimed Wednesday that they had been dangerously pursued by paparazzi in a "near catastrophic car chase" through the streets of Manhattan. That account led New York City Mayor Eric Adams to condemn the paparazzi chasing them as "reckless and irresponsible."
Later, though, police said the pursuit was relatively short and led to no injuries, collisions or arrests, and warranted no further investigation. Still, it drove home real security concerns surrounding the royal couple and the trauma brought on by the death of Harry's mother when he was just 12 years old.
The cab driver who drove them from the police station said he instantly recognized his passengers and that paparazzi "were following us the whole time," though he said wouldn't call it a chase.
"They had this look on their faces," the driver, Sukhcharn Singh, said. "All of a sudden paparazzi came out and started taking pictures."
Police issued a short statement confirming an incident Tuesday night involving photographers and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who were accompanied by Meghan's mother.
In video posted to social media, the couple is seen leaving Manhattan's Ziegfeld Ballroom — where Meghan had just accepted the Ms. Foundation's Woman of Vision Awards with Black Voters Matter co-founder LaTosha Brown — and getting into an SUV as crowds of pedestrians and photographers gawked.
Harry and Meghan's vehicle was then followed by photographers in a scene that their office said "resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers." The couple's office called the incident "near catastrophic."
Police intervened and, assisting the couple's private security detail, led them to a police station about 18 blocks from the ballroom, a law enforcement official told the AP.
The couple spent several minutes at the police station, waiting for the situation to de-escalate. Once it was safe, they left in a taxi, according to the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter and did so on condition of anonymity.
"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," the couple's office said in a statement.
The award presentation was Meghan's first public appearance since she skipped the coronation of her father-in-law King Charles III earlier this month in order to stay at home in California for her son Prince Archie's fourth birthday. Harry attended the coronation.
The gala kicked off the Ms. Foundation's largest fundraising campaign ever — $100 million over the next 12 months — that will be used to further the organization's equity-centered initiatives and its mission of advancing women's collective power.
With her mother, Doria Ragland, in the audience, Meghan recounted how Ms. Magazine was always in their house and how it affected her world view.
"It allowed me to recognize that part of my greater value and purpose in life was to advocate for those who felt unheard, to stand up to injustice, and to not be afraid of saying what is true and what is just and what is right," she said, looking over at Ms. Foundation co-founder Gloria Steinem.
In a statement, the Ms. Foundation said it was "absolutely horrified" about what happened and that "Everyone, especially the media, must do better."
CANNES, France — Appearing at the Cannes Film Festival the day after premiering his first film in three years, Johnny Depp said Wednesday that he has "no further need" for Hollywood.
Depp made a rare public appearance to face questions from the press following the opening-night premiere of "Jeanne du Barry," in which Depp plays King Louis XV. The French film, directed by and starring Maïwenn and featuring a French-speaking Depp, is the actor's first film since a jury last year largely sided with him in his legal battle with his ex-wife, Amber Heard.
Part of Depp's argument in that 2022 defamation trial was that he had lost work due to Heard's allegations. Heard was ordered to pay Depp $10 million in damages, vindicating his allegations that Heard lied about Depp abusing her before and during their brief marriage. Heard was also awarded $2 million.
"Did I feel boycotted by Hollywood? You'd have to not have a pulse to feel like, 'No. None of this is happening. It's a weird joke,'" Depp told reporters. "When you're asked to resign from a film you're doing because of something that is merely a function of vowels and consonants floating in the air, yes, you feel boycotted."
Depp was most notably asked to step down from the "Harry Potter" spin-off franchise "Fantastic Beasts." Now, though, he says he's not interested in returning to studio projects.
"I don't feel boycotted by Hollywood, because I don't think about Hollywood. I don't have much further need for Hollywood, myself," Depp said. "It's a strange, funny time where everybody would love to be able to be themselves, but they can't. They must fall in line with the person in front of them. If you want to live that life, I wish you the best."
"Jeanne du Barry" opened Tuesday in French cinemas. It doesn't have U.S. distribution as of yet.
By Associated Press