Prince George of Cambridge 'being harassed by paparazzi'

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge have urged international media to stop paying for photos and fuelling 'harassment' of their family.
Prince George and Princess Charlotte, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Kensington Palace wrote a strongly-worded letter to newspapers, regulatory bodies and the international media today urging them to stop increasing “harassment” of the child and royal family. Published on 14th August 2015.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge - Prince George and Princess Charlotte
Jason Knauf, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s communications secretary, wrote in the letter that royal aides are attempting to "protect Prince George and Princess Charlotte from harassment and surveillance". Although paparazzi routinely follow all members of the royal family, Prince George is believed to be their "number one target".
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George and Princess Charlotte
Kensington Palace has today sent the attached letter to leaders of media industry bodies and standards organisations in the UK and in other international markets.
      In recent months, there have been an increasing number of incidents of paparazzi harassment of Prince George. And the tactics being used are increasingly dangerous. This letter is being published now to inform the public discussion around the unauthorised photography of children. It is hoped that those who pay paparazzi photographers for their images of children will be able to better understand the distressing activity around a two-year old boy that their money is fuelling. We also feel that the readers who enjoy the publications that fuel this market for the unauthorised photos deserve to understand the tactics deployed to obtain these photos.

      The vast majority of publications around the world – and all British publications – have refused to fuel the market for such photos. This is an important and laudable stance for which The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are hugely grateful. They have enjoyed sharing an increasing number of photos of their children and look forward to continuing to take them to more public events as they get older.

From: Jason Knauf, Communications Secretary to TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and HRH Prince Henry of Wales, 14th August, 2015

      I am writing to provide an overview of the current challenges facing Kensington Palace as we seek to protect Prince George and Princess Charlotte from harassment and surveillance by paparazzi photographers. I hope our experience will inform the ongoing effort to uphold standards on the protection of children in a rapidly changing media landscape.

      The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have expressed their gratitude to British media organisations for their policy of not publishing unauthorised photos of their children. This stance, guided not just by their wishes as parents, but by the standards and codes of the industry as it relates to all children, is to be applauded. They are pleased also that almost all reputable publications throughout the Commonwealth – in particular Australia, Canada, and New Zealand – and in other major media markets like the United States have adopted a similar position.

      The Duke and Duchess are glad that leaders in the media industry share the view that every child, regardless of their future public role, deserves a safe, happy, and private childhood. They have been delighted to share official photographs of Prince George and Princess Charlotte in recent months to thank the public for the thousands of kind messages of support they have received. News photographers have had several recent opportunities to take photos of the family and these will be a regular occurrence as both children get older.

      Despite this, paparazzi photographers are going to increasingly extreme lengths to observe and monitor Prince George's movements and covertly capture images of him to sell to the handful of international media titles still willing to pay for them. One recent incident – just last week – was disturbing, but not at all uncommon. A photographer rented a car and parked in a discreet location outside a children's play area. Already concealed by darkened windows, he took the added step of hanging sheets inside the vehicle and created a hide stocked with food and drinks to get him through a full day of surveillance, waiting in hope to capture images of Prince George. Police discovered him lying down in the boot of the vehicle attempting to shoot photos with a long lens through a small gap in his hide.

      It is of course upsetting that such tactics – reminiscent as they are of past surveillance by groups intent on doing more than capturing images – are being deployed to profit from the image of a two-year old boy. In a heightened security
environment such tactics are a risk to all involved. The worry is that it will not always be possible to quickly distinguish between someone taking photos and someone intending to do more immediate harm.


      This incident was not an isolated one. In recent months photographers have:

• on multiple occasions used long range lenses to capture images of The Duchess playing with Princ e George in a number of private parks;
• monitored the moements of Prince George and his nanny around London parks and monitored the movements of other household staff;
• photographed the children of private individuals visiting The Duke and Duchess's home;
• pursued cars leaving family homes;
• used other children to draw Prince George into view around playgrounds;
• been found hiding on private property in fields and woodland locations around The Duke and Duchess's home in Norfolk;
• obscured themselves in sand dunes on a rural beach to take photos of Prince George playing with his grandmother;
• placed locations near the Middleton family home in Berkshire under steady surveillance

      It is clear that while paparazzi are always keen to capture images of any senior member of The Royal Family, Prince George is currently their number one target. We have made the decision to discuss these issues now as the incidents are becoming more frequent and the tactics more alarming. A line has been crossed and any further escalation in tactics would represent a very real security risk.

      All of this has left The Duke and Duchess concerned about their ability to provide a childhood for Prince George and Princess Charlotte that is free from harassment and surveillance. They know that almost all parents love to share photos of their children and they themselves enjoy doing so. But they know every parent would object to anyone – particularly strangers – taking photos of their children without their permission. Every parent would understand their deep unease at only learning they had been followed and watched days later when photographs emerged.

      The Duke and Duchess are of course very fortunate to have private homes where photographers cannot capture images of their children. But they feel strongly that both Prince George and Princess Charlotte should not grow up exclusively behind palace gates and in walled gardens. They want both children to be free to play in public and semi-public spaces with other children without being photographed. In addition, the privacy of those other children and their families must also be preserved.

      Rest assured that we continue to take legal steps to manage these incidents as they occur. But we are aware that many people who read and enjoy the publications that fuel the market for unauthorised photos of children do not know about the unacceptable circumstances behind what are often lovely images. The use of these photos is usually dressed up with fun, positive language about the 'cute', 'adorable' photos and happy write ups about the family. We feel readers deserve to understand the tactics deployed to obtain these pictures.

      We hope a public discussion of these issues will help all publishers of unauthorised photos of children to understand the power they hold to starve this disturbing activity of funding. I would welcome constructive conversations with any publisher or editor on these topics. And I would ask for your help as we work to encourage the highest standards on the protection of children in every corner of the media. The Duke and Duchess are determined to keep the issues around a small number of paparazzi photographers distinct and separate from the positive work of most newspapers, magazines, broadcasters, and web publishers around the world.

      The text from this letter, which has been sent to a number of people in leadership positions, will be placed in the public domain to raise awareness of the issues discussed.

Jason Knauf,
Communications Secretary, Kensington Palace

27 comments:

  1. Perhaps if they provided regular photo opportunities, like most of the European royals do, they might not have such escalating issues with the paps. With great privilege comes great responsibility.

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    1. I agree! They should have an annual photoshoot. But I also don't understand why are people so crazy about Will and Kate, other royals seem to have the same amount of obligations, style, etc but people don't give them as much attention.

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    2. Only the English & bogans love the British royal family, a little bit of class go for the European royals, that is MY opinion, I always love the European royal families, more class & style!.

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  2. One of the photos was published on the My Royals website (George and Carole Middleton at the beach). Please don't post those sort of photos anymore.

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    1. Why not? I'm pretty sure those photos were staged to make it look like Carole was the doting granny, while at the same time making Charles look like the distant grandpa. Suck it up and don't complain because this is exactly the life Carole wanted . . . . I mean, Kate wanted!

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  3. I would be very grateful if someone explained me this: at Will and Kate's wedding there were all importand representatives of royal families, king, queens, etc. But Will and Kate, queen Elisabeth never attend european royal weddings. Isn't that rude? They are not more important than others and I wouldn't give them that much attention and publicity.

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    1. The queen sends the Earl and Countess of Wessex as her representatives.

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    2. Yes, I noticed that, but why wouldn't she attend the event? Or William and Kate? For example, the king an queen of Sweden attendet Will and Kate's wedding, but the British queen didn't attend the wedding of CP Victoria. Why is that so? In my opinion, it is not OK.

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    3. Why representatives? Why shouldn't she attend the event herself?

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    4. Maybe becasue she is already busy and is booked far in advance. Her own people are counting on her to visit them and not cancel their invitation. Her first duty is to her own people. Not to mention the Earl and Countess probably enjoy weddings more than the queen does at her age and they don't have such a packed schedule - she is the queen after all. Nobody should take it personally.

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    5. Is she busy during every royal wedding except the british ones? I believe there are other reasons for this..

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    6. Perhaps visiting a small town in Britain is more important than attending a royal wedding? I think she should attend those weddings, it would be simply respectul..

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    7. I think it's quite the contrary, the Queen is being respectful by sending the Earl and Countess of Wessex to royal weddings. If she would go herself, the security measures would have to be a lot higher, and she would be in the center of attention - after all, she is "the" Queen, probably the most famous monarch of the world. She surely wouldn't want to cause additional security measures and/or draw attention away from the bridal couple, as they should be in the center of attention on their wedding day. The same is true if William and Kate would attend a foreign royal wedding. And I think it's also some sort of acknowledgement and gratitude towards Edward and Sophie, who do a very good job but often go unnoticed; and in the meantime, they have certainly formed friendships with other foreign royals who are also regulars at such events.

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    8. Yes, I underastand you, but after all I think british royals should be like other royal family, there's no reason for them to be so special. If queen Sofia, Silvia, Sonia can attend the wedding, why wouldn't THE queen Elizabeth attend too. Thank you for your kind explanations, but I still think she's not fair. Objective opinion...

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    9. Thank you C - well said!

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    10. I agree with the last comment. She is not being respectful. She rules the UK, not the world! If other european monarch can find time to attend such an important event, then she should come too! I respect every royal family, but the british one is not more important than others.

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    11. She obviously has many obligations, but why we never see William and Kate attending royal weddings. We have only seen them at small, rural weddins of their friends.Take their wedding for an example: you could see the queen of Spain-Sofia AND the crown prince couple. Why doesn't the British royal family follow this example? People like them, of course, but why are they different? There should be no reason for that

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    12. I understand where you are coming from, but it's a matter of fact that the British RF is seen as "special" by most people, the media... they are given this special attention, though they might not even ask for it. And I personally think, while I agree that the BRF shouldn't be regarded as "above" other RF, that the Earl and Countess of Wessex have earned over the years the honor to attend those other weddings. Queen Elizabeth isn't likely to attend any weddings outside of her family now at her age. Furthermore, almost all young royals in Europe are married now - I can actually only think of Prince Harry who is still unmarried, plus several of the young Luxembourg and Liechtenstein royals but those weddings aren't very public events. So I guess that we won't see a lot of royal weddings in the years to come anyway (sadly!).

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    13. Yes, we won't see many weddings... And the queen is old... But she sholud have sent William and Kate, not Sophie and Edward, end of the story..

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    14. I agree Anonymus!

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    15. I think the reason Queen Elizabeth doesn't attend weddings is because she's 89 years old and her consort is 94. I can't imagine traveling internationally to attend a wedding at almost 90 and 95 years old.

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  4. I agree as well. Please do not post any more unauthorized photos of The Cambridge Family. Thank you in advance.

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  5. Disgruntled ReaderAug 15, 2015, 8:16:00 PM

    I don't think William and Kate are required to present their children to the press regularly for photos. Neither of the children are working royals and they should be allowed to have as much privacy as is possible. When they accompany their parents at appearances they are fair game, but being stalked and having other toddlers used to lure William into camera range? That's creepy.

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  6. The Dutch royal family has a photo session TWICE a year for the international press, the king & queen plus the children are available for the photo session. One in the SUMMER & one in the WINTER, the rest of the year it is OFF LIMIT to take pictures (PRIVATE pictures)or else the press will be taken to court!

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    1. And it works! The international press respect this rule and it has been for years, so EVERYBODY is happy!

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    2. I agree, there should be an official photoshoot and that's it! This is the easiest way to avoid stress.

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