9:54 AM PT -- A source tells TMZ the chase started around 10 PM, after the award ceremony, and the pursuit was at its most intense on the FDR Drive ... a highway on the east side of Manhattan. We're told Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's SUV got up to about 80 mph as they tried to shake the paparazzi.
We're also told it ended around midnight ... so, that 2-hour time span Harry and Meghan's spokesperson mentioned is accurate.
Prince Harrymust have had a bone-chilling case of deja vu Tuesday night after he and Meghan Markle were followed by paparazzi in what his people are calling a "near catastrophic" car chase.
As we reported, Meghan received an award at a ceremony earlier in the evening that Harry and Meghan's mom attended, after which they left and got into an SUV followed by police. Apparently, that's when the chase was on.
A spokesperson for Harry and Meghan said, "This relentless pursuit, lasting over 2 hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and 2 NYPD officers."
At some point during the chase, the SUV pulled over and the trio jumped in a New York taxi and beat a hasty retreat. It looks like the cops tried to outwit the paps by driving in a different direction than the cab.
Sources say the paparazzi were in a half-dozen blacked-out vehicles, claiming the traffic violations included driving on the sidewalk, running red lights and driving the wrong way on a one-way street.