Meghan Markle and Prince Harry‘s request for footage has been denied. In a fiery letter, Backgrid, the photo agency that captured footage of the couple’s paparazzi car chase, denied the Sussex’s request to hand over the recording, ET confirms. ET has reached out to reps for Meghan and Harry for comment.
Per TMZ, who was first to report the news, the situation started when Meghan and Harry’s legal team sent Backgrid a letter claiming they needed the footage to help with the couple’s security.
“We hereby demand that Backgrid immediately provide us with copies of all photos, videos, and/or films taken last night by the freelance photographers after the couple left their event and over the next several hours,” the letter read, according to the outlet.
In response, Backgrid replied with a letter of their own.
“In America, as I’m sure you know, property belongs to the owner of it: Third parties cannot just demand it be given to them, as perhaps Kings can do,” Backgrid’s letter read in part, per the outlet. “Perhaps you should sit down with your client and advise them that his English rules of royal prerogative to demand that the citizenry hand over their property to the Crown were rejected by this country long ago. We stand by our founding fathers.”
In the letter, Backgrid also said that they had four photographers, three in cars and one on a bike, that “had no intention of causing any distress or harm, as their only tool was their cameras,” according to the outlet.
Tuesday night, after attending the Ms. Foundation Women of Vision Awards in New York City, Meghan and Harry said that they, along with her mother, Doria Ragland, were involved in a “near catastrophic car chase” with paparazzi. Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, died after a car crash involving paparazzi in Paris, France, on Aug. 31, 1997. She was 36.
“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,” a spokesperson for the couple told ET in a statement. “This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD (New York Police Department) 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,” the statement continued. “Dissemination of these images, given the ways in which they were obtained, encourages a highly intrusive practice that is dangerous to all in involved.”
In the wake of Meghan and Harry’s statement, the NYPD issued one of their own, which read in part, “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.”
Backgrid, who promised “a thorough investigation into the matter,” defended their freelance photographers by citing the NYPD’s statement in their response, and claiming, “One of the four SUVs from Prince Harry’s security escort was driving in a manner that could be perceived as reckless.” The photo agency additionally said that “the photographers have reported feeling that the couple was not in immediate danger at any point.”
Meanwhile, ET has learned that neither Buckingham nor Kensington Palace will be commenting on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s claims of a car chase in New York City. A source told ET that “since Harry and Meghan have stepped back from royal duties, the palace generally does not comment on their activities.”
MORE FROM ET: