The taxi driver who drove Harry and Meghan through New York City during a car chase has spoken out.
Sukhcharn Singh, who picked up the Duke and Duchess of Sussex from a police station, said he instantly recognised them – and they were followed by paparazzi throughout their journey.
However, he didn’t agree with the couple’s assessment that it was “near catastrophic”.
Speaking to NBC News about the couple’s description of the situation, he said: “I think that’s all you know, exaggerated and stuff like that. So don’t read too much into that, you know.
“New York City is the safest place to be. There’s police stations, there’s cops on every corner, so there’s no reason to be afraid in New York.”
Mr Singh has said he never felt like he was in danger – and shrugged off suggestions that it was like a car chase you would see in the movies.
He went on to reveal that the couple tipped him $50 (£40) for the 10-minute drive – adding that the pair “seemed nervous” while they were in his car.
Two New York police officers also played down the incident – describing it as “a bit chaotic” rather than “near catastrophic”.
Officers said the Sussexes had been driven around 57th Street, FDR Drive and nearby roads for about an hour and 15 minutes as they were followed by paparazzi before they were dropped off at the New York City Police Department’s 19th precinct.
They were picked up by Mr Singh shortly after.
Security for the couple claimed that they were being pursued by cars, mopeds and electric bikes that at times mounted the pavement to keep up with the couple’s vehicle.
The firm claims at least 15 lights were ignored by the paparazzi as they followed the couple through the city – describing them as driving “aggressively and badly”.
However, they did not describe the incident as a “high-speed chase”.
Timeline of the car chase
Police sources in New York have given the following breakdown of what happened on Tuesday night.
:: Harry and Meghan leave the Ziegfeld Ballroom with private security with them at around 10pm local time. Police say the couple wanted to go back to where they were staying on the Upper East Side.
:: Harry and Meghan didn’t want paparazzi to know where they were going so they were driven across 57th street and other streets for about an hour and fifteen minutes. One NYPD vehicle was escorting their vehicle.
:: The Sussexes were driven to the 19th precinct and stayed there around 15 minutes. Police helped get the pair get off the block and they got into a different car. They got to their residence without being followed. Police have said it was a bit of a chaotic scene.
Ashley Hansen, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s press secretary, made the couple’s distress clear.
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 respected.”
Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace have not commented publicly – and according to the PA news agency, the Royal Family have not been in touch with Harry and Meghan since the incident.
NYPD officials suggest Sussex car chase ‘not catastrophic’
Analysis: It’s impossible not to be reminded of Diana
What has Prince Harry previously said about the paparazzi?
New York’s mayor Eric Adams has said two police officers could have been injured as they assisted Harry and Meghan’s private security team while their car was being followed.
He added: “Public safety must always be at the forefront. 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 added he believes the behaviour of those following the Sussexes was “reckless and irresponsible”.