British Royals Criticize Increased "Paparazzi Harassment" of Prince George

Prince William, Prince George - P 2015

Prince William, Prince George - P 2015

The palace says photographers have used other children to draw the prince "into view around playgrounds" and "obscured themselves in sand dunes," among other things.

The British royal palace on Friday criticized increasing "paparazzi harassment" of Prince George.

In a series of tweets, it said Kate Middleton and Prince William "have been delighted to share photos of their children and will continue to do so in the months and years ahead." It added: "Yet undercover paparazzi continue to pursue their children, selling images of Prince George to international publications."

Kensington Palace, where the couple has a residence, issued a letter "on the security and ethical issues around unauthorized photos" of children.

"Kensington Palace has today sent the ... letter to leaders of media industry bodies and standards organizations in the U.K. and in other international markets," it said. "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. ... 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 2-year old boy that their money is fueling. We also feel that the readers who enjoy the publications that fuel this market for the unauthorized photos deserve to understand the tactics deployed to obtain these photos."

The letter emphasized that "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."

It added: "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."

Jason Knauf, the communications secretary for the royal couple, said, "We seek to protect Prince George and Princess Charlotte from harassment and surveillance by paparazzi photographers."

He added: "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."

He said that such tactics "deployed to profit from the image of a 2-year old boy" in a "heightened security environment ... 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."

Knauf also listed other recent incidents. He said paparazzi 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."

Concluded Knauf: "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."

He added: "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."

And he emphasized: "Rest assured that we continue to take legal steps to manage these incidents as they occur. ... We hope a public discussion of these issues will help all publishers of unauthorized photos of children to understand the power they hold to starve this disturbing activity of funding."