Duke of Sussex’s former bodyguard says current security ‘unaware of dilemmas’
The Duke of Sussex’s former bodyguard has said his current security team lack experience, following a “near catastrophic car chase” in New York.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were followed by paparazzi after attending an awards ceremony with the duchess’s mother, Doria Ragland, on Tuesday, the couple’s spokesman said.
There are claims they were subjected to a “relentless pursuit” involving six blacked-out vehicles driving recklessly and endangering the convoy and everyone around them.
Ken Wharfe, who used to take Harry to school when he was three years old, said his current security were “unaware of what the dilemmas seem to be”.
The former bodyguard told the PA news agency: “There seems to be a lack of chemistry between them and Harry and Meghan.
The departure from the hotel was chaotic before they began their whacky drive through New York
“The departure from the hotel was chaotic before they began their whacky drive through New York.
“Harry needs to be part of the planning. He knows the dangers better than anyone.
“You (need) a relationship with the people you are protecting. Until that happens things like this will happen again.”
It is said those involved in the incident were confronted by uniformed police several times but continued the pursuit.
It is also said there is security footage and other evidence to support the allegations.
Mr Wharfe added: “There seemed to be no planning happening on that night.
“After two to three minutes you should put in place a contingency plan. To run around New York and hope the (paparazzi) will go away is foolish.”
In a statement on Wednesday, a spokesman for Harry and Meghan said: “Last night, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Ms Ragland were involved in a near catastrophic car chase at the hands of a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi.
“This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers.
“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.”
Harry, Meghan and Ms Ragland had been at the Ms Foundation For Women’s 50th anniversary gala event, and it was Harry and Meghan’s first public appearance together since the duchess’s absence from the King’s coronation earlier this month.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Ms Ragland were involved in a near catastrophic car chase at the hands of a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi
Chris Sanchez, a member of the couple’s security team, told CNN the incident was alarming.
He said: “The public were in jeopardy at several points. It could have been fatal.”
But photographers told celebrity news agency Backgrid USA there were no near-collisions or near-crashes during the incident.
Backgrid USA said it had received photos and videos from four freelance photographers, three who had been in cars and one who was riding a bicycle.
A statement from Backgrid USA said: “They had no intention of causing any distress or harm, as their only tool was their cameras. A few of the photos even show Meghan Markle smiling inside a cab.
“The photographers report that one of the four SUVs from Prince Harry’s security escort was driving in a manner that could be perceived as reckless.
“The vehicle was seen blocking off streets, and in one video, it is shown being pulled over by the police.”
The photo agency said it took the Duke of Sussex’s allegations seriously and will be conducting an investigation into the matter.
Harry and Meghan are said to accept a heightened level of attention when they are at public events, and in this case they exited and entered the venue publicly, allowing photographers to get pictures.
On Wednesday New York mayor Eric Adams described the photographers as “reckless and irresponsible”.
The New York Police Department, which deployed officers to help escort the duke and duchess, said “numerous photographers” had “made their transport difficult” on Tuesday.
The statement said there were “no reported collisions, summonses, injuries or arrests”.
The best videos delivered daily
Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox