Prince William and Kate Middleton, formally known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are in protective parent mode at the moment, and for good reason: they’re concerned about their older child, Prince George, being harassed by the media.
Jason Knauf, who is the communications secretary at Kensington Palace, released a letter. Here’s an excerpt:
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…
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…
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 Prince George in a number of private parks;
• monitored the movements 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
… 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…
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.
My goodness: I can understand their concern! It sounds like William and Kate want whatever publications will still buy these photos to stop and to let the people who buy those publications know what’s going on behind the scenes.
I can especially understand William’s concern, given Princess Diana’s death in a car accident that occurred because the paparazzi were trailing her. Hopefully everyone stays safe.
Photos Courtesy of Kensington Palace and FAMEFLYNET