A photo agency that took pictures of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex during what the couple said was a dangerous car chase has refused to hand over the images to them.
Backgrid told BBC News it had rejected a legal demand to share the material taken in New York on Tuesday night.
In a tongue-in-cheek response, the agency’s lawyers said Americans had long ago rejected “royal prerogative”.
The BBC has asked the couple for comment.
Conflicting accounts of what Harry and Meghan’s spokesperson described as a “near catastrophic car chase” resulting in “multiple near collisions” have emerged since the incident was made public on Wednesday.
New York police said “numerous photographers” had made the couple’s journey from an awards ceremony on Tuesday evening “challenging”, but added there had been “no reported collisions, summonses, injuries, or arrests”.
A taxi driver who briefly drove them suggested their spokesperson’s account was “exaggerated”, while some photographers involved have denied parts of it.
Backgrid, a California-based entertainment picture agency, said on Thursday it had received a letter from the Sussexes’ legal team.
It said the letter, which the BBC has not seen, stated: “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.”
A spokesperson for the duke and duchess said the couple understood they are public figures but that interest “should never come at the cost of anyone’s safety”.
Prince Harry has spoken of his anger at the actions of the paparazzi over the years, comparing the photographers to “a pack of dogs” who hounded his mother, in a BBC documentary.
Diana, Princess of Wales, died from injuries she sustained in a car crash after photographers chased the vehicle she was in through the streets of Paris.
“To see another woman in my life, who I love, go through this feeding frenzy – that’s hard,” he said in the recent Netflix documentary, Harry & Meghan.
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