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American firm dismisses demand from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to hand over pictures


You’re not OUR royal family, Harry is told: US photo agency in ‘car chase’ storm says the Sussexes can’t just demand to see the photos they’ve taken, in legal tit-for-tat

  • Backgrid USA reportedly said the country rejects the prince’s “rules of royal prerogative.”
  • The company refuted the Duke and Duchess’s “near catastrophic” pursuit claims

A US photo agency has turned down a request from Harry and Meghan to hand over photos of what they say was a “near catastrophic” chase with paparazzi in New York this week.

Backgrid USA reportedly said that the Prince’s “English Rules of Royal Prerogative to require the citizens to hand over their property to the Crown has long since been rejected by this country.”

The agency confirmed it received photos and footage Tuesday evening from four freelance photographers, three of whom were in cars and one on a bicycle.

But it has dismissed claims from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex of a “near catastrophic” chase through Manhattan’s Upper East Side after the pair appeared at an awards ceremony.

US gossip website TMZ published details of the legal battle on Thursday, including part of a letter sent to Backgrid by Sussex’s lawyers.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the Ms. Foundation Women of Vision Awards at

It reportedly read: “We hereby demand that Backgrid immediately provide us with copies of all photos, videos and/or film taken by the freelance photographers last night after the couple left their event and in the following hours.”

According to reports, they are also urging the New York Police Department to investigate. The Mail has sought comment from Sussex’s legal team in the UK.

Backgrid firmly rejected the request to hand over footage. TMZ carried an excerpt from the agency’s legal response, which read, “In America, as I’m sure you know, property belongs to its owner.” Third parties cannot simply demand that it be given to them.

“Perhaps you should sit down with your client and tell them that his English rules of royal prerogative to require the citizens to hand over their property to the Crown have long since been rejected by this country.”

Backgrid added: “We stand by our founding fathers.”

The agency said it launched its own investigation because it “did not condone any form of harassment or illegal activity.” But it also said the photographers had “no intention of causing distress or harm as their only resource was their cameras” on Tuesday evening.

Doria Ragland, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at New York's Ziegfeld Ballroom on Tuesday

Doria Ragland, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at New York’s Ziegfeld Ballroom on Tuesday

Security officers working for the pair have said they feared for the safety of members of the public caught up in what they say was a frightening incident.

In a statement on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Sussexes said: “While being a public figure brings with it a certain level of public interest, it should never be at the expense of anyone’s safety.”

The incident happened after the couple attended the Women of Vision awards ceremony.

Yesterday, an unnamed friend of Harry’s said he would use what happened in New York to bolster his legal claim against the Home Office over the use of protection by the UK’s Metropolitan Police.

The friend told i-newspaper it was a “clear demonstration” of why the duke and his family are in a “different category” from other celebrities.

However, a senior Home Office source said, “This was an incident in New York, not London,” adding, “The Duke and Duchess would not get into car chases with the paparazzi in the UK.”

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