Featured image courtesy of Mario Testino/PA
Kensington Palace, speaking on behalf of the royal family, has warned that Paparazzi harassment of the toddler Prince George has become ‘dangerous’. The palace would issue a plea to the world media not to publish unauthorised images of the two year old Royal, who is currently third in line to the throne, in order to dissuade unlawful Paparazzi. Since the child Royals birth in July 2013, media focus and coverage of Prince George has been fierce. Prince George is a regular topic for many UK tabloids, and so the demand for photos of the Prince is high. In the statement the royal family said this had led to photographers going to ‘extreme lengths’ to capture the prince, and that these paparazzi’s had ‘crossed a line’.
The palace said that in recent months alone photographers had ‘used long range lenses to photograph the Duchess of Cambridge playing with her son in private parks’ and ‘Used other children to draw Prince George into view around playgrounds’ among other incidents. The Palace said that only a few weeks ago the police were required to apprehend a photographer that was hiding in the boot of rented car in order to capture photos of the Prince’s local children’s play area.
The relationship between the palace and media photographers have always been unsteady. In 2008 a jury found that paparazzi was partly responsible for the death of Diana, princess of Wales, a death that shocked the nation. Diana was being driven through Paris, when Paparazzi started to follow her car in hopes of getting a photograph. Diana’s driver to escape the photographers sped up, and due to this crashed into a pillar in the Pont de l’Alma road tunnel, killing Diana and her friend Dodi Fayed.
In addition to this incident, the Monarchs have regularly found their privacy invaded due to their prominent public position. But the recent incidents directed towards Prince George have incited an important debate. The statement from the palace said that it wanted to ‘inform discussion’ on unauthorised photography of children. Presently the photographers are protected due to the royal family being of ‘special interest to the public’, yet the Duke has said he wished for his children’s lives to be ‘free from harassment and surveillance’. However, celebrity photographer Steven Walters has said that the royals should release more pictures of Prince George and his baby sister Princess Charlotte in order to ‘deter paparazzi’.
While the effects of the paparazzi focus on the young Prince George are yet to be known, these recent incidents have made it clear that a discussion on the moral standing of photographing child celebrities is sorely needed in today’s media centric world.