What we know so far as police in New York play down Harry and Meghan 'pursuit'

Prince Harry's spokesperson sparked a media storm after releasing a statement saying the Sussexes were involved in a "near catastrophic" car chase that was caused by "highly aggressive paparazzi" on Tuesday evening.

The spokesperson said the "relentless pursuit" lasted more than two hours and "resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD (New York Police Department) officers".

But the NYPD and a taxi driver who drove the group downplayed the severity of the "car chase".

As different claims emerge, here's what we know about what happened last night in New York.

Timeline of 'relentless pursuit'

The police department said the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and her mother Doria Ragland left the Ms Foundation for Women's annual gala at the Ziegfeld Ballroom at around 10pm local time.

It was the couple's first public appearance since the King's coronation.

The group wanted to return to where they were staying on the Upper East Side but didn't want paparazzi to know where they were going. They were reportedly staying at a friend's property and wanted to maintain their privacy.

One NYPD vehicle escorted their car across 57th Street and other streets for around one hour and 15 minutes, according to police, in a bid to lose pursuers.

The Sussexes and Ms Ragland were driven to the NYPD's 19th precinct building and stayed there for around 15 minutes.

The couple then got into a different car and got to their residence without being followed.

Taxi driver: 'It's New York - it's safe'

A taxi driver who picked up the Sussexes outside the 19th precinct said: "I don't think I would call it a chase."

Sukhcharn Singh told The Washington Post that he picked up the couple and Ms Ragland at 11pm and were in his car for around 10 minutes.

"I never felt like I was in danger," Mr Singh said.

"It wasn't like a car chase in a movie. They were quiet and seemed scared but it's New York - it's safe."

However, although the taxi driver's account plays down the incident, he did add he might not have seen everything.

Mr Singh also said he got the impression from the Sussexes that they had already been pursued by paparazzi before they got in his car.

Read more:
What Harry has said about paparazzi before
'Impossible not to be reminded of Diana'
Video of couple before 'car chase'

'No injuries' according to NYPD - but mayor warns press

An NYPD official said prior to arriving at the 19th precinct, there was "a bit of a chaotic scene" but downplayed the severity of the chase.

Julian Phillips, the deputy commissioner of the New York Police Department, has said officers "assisted the private security team protecting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex".

He added: "There were numerous photographers that made their transport challenging.

"The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at their destination and there were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries, or arrests in regard."

New York's mayor Eric Adams said he was told two NYPD officers could have been injured on the night, however.

He said: "The press or paparazzi, you know, they want to get the right shot, they want to get the right story.

"But public safety must always be at the forefront."

The mayor added: "In a briefing I received (I heard) two of our officers could have been injured... I don't think there's many of us who don't recall how (Harry's) mum died.

"It would be horrific to lose the innocent bystander during a chase like this and something to have happened to them as well."

Mr Adams said he believes the behaviour of those following the Sussexes was "reckless and irresponsible".

He also added, however, that he found it "hard to believe" the pursuit of the couple lasted two hours at high speeds.

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Reports of 'erratic driving by paparazzi'

As well as the police accounts, more details have also emerged about the alleged behaviour of some members of the paparazzi during the "near catastrophic car chase".

It was reported that the duke, duchess and Ms Ragland were followed by half a dozen blacked-out vehicles which were being driven by unidentified people.

The vehicles are said to have driven on pavements, jumped red lights and reversed down a one-way street.

It has also been said at least one driver was using their phone behind the wheel.

At least one other is reported to have been photographing while driving.

One of the cars is said to have illegally blocked a moving vehicle.

Those pursuing the Sussexes are said to have been confronted by uniformed police multiple times but apparently continued their pursuit.

'They were incredibly scared'

Ashley Hansen, a press secretary for the duke and duchess, issued a new statement about what happened on Wednesday evening.

She told Sky News: "I have never experienced their vulnerability as much as I did last night. They were incredibly scared and shaken up.

"There were several times where the car stopped and security got out.

"There were instances where the police confronted the paparazzi and had asked them to stop or give them space, to do this safely.

"Unfortunately that wish was not was respected."