Wednesday 26 November 2014

Kate Middleton won't sue over privacy invasion of Prince George holiday photos

Gordon Rayner, Telegraph.co.uk

Published 04/02/2014 | 09:18

The Duchess of Cambridge’s unpredictable stance on privacy took another twist as paparazzi pictures of Prince George were published without any complaint from Kensington Palace.

The Duchess's silence appeared to be at odds with past objections to "private" photographs of her taken in public places, and raised the question of whether she is exercising "image control" rather than protecting her privacy, legal experts said.

Long lens photographs of the Duchess getting off a plane en route to Mustique with the third in line to the throne appeared on the cover of Hello! magazine and across eight inside pages.

It is the first time paparazzi pictures of Prince George have been published, and the pictures, sold to the magazine by a freelance photographer, are the first images of the future king since his christening in October.

While the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have taken legal action in the past over “off-duty” photographs to which they have objected, Kensington Palace indicated to Hello! that it would not take action on this occasion if it published the photos.

Royal sources said Kensington Palace had not objected to the pictures – in which the Duchess is groomed and smiling - because they were taken “in a public place, without any harassment or pursuit”.

The Duchess of Cambridge wears Alezander McQueen for the christening of her first child, Prince George (WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The Duchess of Cambridge wears Alezander McQueen for the christening of her first child, Prince George (WPA Pool/Getty Images)
For a rare night off mummu duties, she donned a black ballgown for a gala dinner (WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Her nautical chic ensemble showed exactly why she's a casual style icon (CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)
In her first high profile appearance since giving birth to Prince George, the Duchess looked sensational in a sequinned gown.  (WPA Pool/Getty Images)
YELLOWKNIFE, NT - JULY 05: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrives to board a Seaplane bound for Blachford Lake at the Old Town Float Base on July 5, 2011 in Yellowknife, Canada. The newly married Royal Couple are on the sixth day of their first joint overseas tour. The 12 day visit to North America is taking in some of the more remote areas of the country such as Prince Edward Island, Yellowknife and Calgary. The Royal couple started off their tour by joining millions of Canadians in taking part in Canada Day celebrations which mark Canada's 144th Birthday. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge, arrives for a visit at the Brink, an alcohol-free bar in Liverpool, north-west England, on February 14, 2012. The bar, run by the charity Action on Addiction, is a social enterprise run primarily to help people recovering from drink and drug addiction. The Duchess visited the Brink in her capacity as patron of Action on Addiction. (ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images)
Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, leaves after visit to the Lucian Freud Portraits exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, in London, on February 8, 2012. The Duchess of Cambridge carried out her first public solo engagement, a private viewing of an exhibition of work by the late artist Lucian Freud at the National Portrait Gallery. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 08: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attends the UK premiere of War Horse at Odeon Leicester Square on January 8, 2012 in London, England. (Tim Whitby/Getty Images)
KING'S LYNN, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 25: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge leaves Sandringham Church after the traditional Christmas Day service at Sandringham on December 25, 2011 in King's Lynn, England. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh traditionally lead the royals in attending a church service at Sandringham Church on Christmas Day. It is the Duchess of Cambridge's first Christmas at Sandringham after her marriage to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge in April of this year. This year the Duke of Edinburgh missed the service as he is in Papworth Hospital after having cardiac surgery to fit a stent in his coronary artery. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
KING'S LYNN, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 25: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge leaves Sandringham Church after the traditional Christmas Day service at Sandringham on December 25, 2011 in King's Lynn, England. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh traditionally lead the royals in attending a church service at Sandringham Church on Christmas Day. It is the Duchess of Cambridge's first Christmas at Sandringham after her marriage to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge in April of this year. This year the Duke of Edinburgh mised the service as he is in Papworth Hospital after having cardiac surgery to fit a stent in his coronary artery. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Britain's Duchess of Cambridge smiles as she arrives with her husband at Centrepoint's Camberwell Foyer in London on December 21, 2011. The national charity, Centrepoint, provides housing and support to improve the lives of homeless young people aged 16-25. (CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrive to a reception in aid of the National Memorial Arboretum Appeal at St James's Palace on November 10, 2011 in London, England. The Appeal was launched in April 2009 by its Patron, The Duke of Cambridge, to develop the Arboretum into a world-renowned centre for Remembrance and to ensure that there are necessary facilities for the 300,000 visiting families, servicemen and women, veterans and members of the public each year (Lefteris Pitarakis - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 29: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrives at The Royal Marsden Hospital at Belmont, Sutton on September 29, 2011 in London, England. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge opened the new Oak Centre for Children and Young People at The Royal Marsden Hospital. (Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
YELLOWKNIFE, NT - JULY 06: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge board a Canadian Airforce jet to Slave Lake at Yellowknife Airport on July 6, 2011 in Yellowknife, Canada. The newly married Royal Couple are on the seventh day of their first joint overseas tour. The 12 day visit to North America is taking in some of the more remote areas of the country such as Prince Edward Island, Yellowknife and Calgary. The Royal couple started off their tour by joining millions of Canadians in taking part in Canada Day celebrations which mark Canada's 144th Birthday. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, greets the crowd during a visit to Slave Lake, Alberta on July 6, 2011. The Royal couple made a side trip to visit the community that was 30 percent destroyed by the fire earlier in 2011. The Royal couple is on a tour of Canada from June 30 to July 8. (ANDY CLARK/AFP/Getty Images)
YELLOWKNIFE, NT - JULY 05: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge laughs during an official welcome ceremony at the Somba K'e Civic Plaza on July 5, 2011 in Yellowknife, Canada. The newly married Royal Couple are on the sixth day of their first joint overseas tour. The 12 day visit to North America is taking in some of the more remote areas of the country such as Prince Edward Island, Yellowknife and Calgary. The Royal couple started off their tour by joining millions of Canadians in taking part in Canada Day celebrations which mark Canada's 144th Birthday. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge gets out of her car as she arrives at the hotel with Prince William after their arrival in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories on their nine-day tour in Canada July 4, 2011. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, CANADA - JULY 2: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge takes part in a cooking workshop at the Institut De Tourisme et D'hotellerie Du Quebec on July 2, 2011 in Montreal, Canada. The newly married Royal Couple are on the third day of their first joint overseas tour. The 12 day visit to North America will take in some of the more remote areas of the country such as Prince Edward Island, Yellowknife and Calgary. The Royal couple started off their tour by joining millions of Canadians in taking part in Canada Day celebrations which mark Canada's 144th Birthday. (David Rose - Pool/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - JULY 04: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrives on shore after rowing dragon boats across Dalvay lake on July 4, 2011 in Charlottetown, Canada. The newly married Royal Couple are on the fifth day of their first joint overseas tour. The 12 day visit to North America is taking in some of the more remote areas of the country such as Prince Edward Island, Yellowknife and Calgary. The Royal couple started off their tour by joining millions of Canadians in taking part in Canada Day celebrations which mark Canada's 144th Birthday. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
OTTAWA, ON - JULY 1: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attends Canada Day Celebrations at Parliament Hill on day 2 of the Royal Couple's North American Tour on July 1, 2011 in Ottawa, Canada. The newly married Royal Couple are on the second day of their first joint overseas tour. Ottawa is the start of a 12 day visit to North America which will take in some of the more remote areas of the country such as Prince Edward Island, Yellowknife and Calgary. The Royal couple will be joining millions of Canadians in taking part in today's Canada Day celebrations which mark Canada's 144th Birthday. (Mark Large - Pool/Getty Images)
Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge looks on as British Prince William plays street hockey during a event at the Somba K'e Civic Plaza in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories on their nine-day tour in Canada July 5, 2011. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - JULY 02: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrives on board HMCS Montreal on July 2, 2011 in Montreal, Canada. The newly married Royal Couple are on the third day of their first joint overseas tour. The 12 day visit to North America will take in some of the more remote areas of the country such as Prince Edward Island, Yellowknife and Calgary. The Royal couple yesterday joined millions of Canadians in taking part in Canada Day celebrations which mark Canada's 144th Birthday. (Chris Jackson-Pool/Getty Images)
OTTAWA, CANADA - JULY 1: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend the Evening National Canada Day Celebrations accompanied by representatives of the National Capitol Commission on Parliament Hill on July 1, 2011 in Ottawa, Canada. (David Rose - Pool/Getty Images)
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND, PE - JULY 04: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge visit Province House on July 4, 2011 in Charlottetown, Canada. The newly married Royal Couple are on the fifth day of their first joint overseas tour as they visited Pronvince House, the location for the Charlottestown conference of 1864 where the idea of the nation of Canada forged. The 12 day visit to North America is taking in some of the more remote areas of the country such as Prince Edward Island, Yellowknife and Calgary. The Royal couple started off their tour by joining millions of Canadians in taking part in Canada Day celebrations which mark Canada's 144th Birthday. (Pool/Getty Images)
OTTAWA, ON - JUNE 30: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (R), Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (L) stand outside the Rideau Hall on June 30, 2011 in Ottawa, Canada. The newly married Royal Couple have arrived in Canada today for their first joint overseas tour. Ottawa is the start of a 12-day visit to North America which will take in some of the more remote areas of the country such as Prince Edward Island, Yellowknife and Calgary. The Royal couple will also join millions of Canadians to take part in tomorrow's Canada Day celebrations which mark Canada's 144th Birthday. (John Stillwell-Pool/Getty Images)
QUEBEC CITY, QC - JULY 03: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attends a Freedom of the City Ceremony outside City Hall on July 3, 2011 in Quebec, Canada. The newly married Royal Couple are on the fourth day of their first joint overseas tour. The 12 day visit to North America will take in some of the more remote areas of the country such as Prince Edward Island, Yellowknife and Calgary. The Royal couple started off their tour by joining millions of Canadians in taking part in Canada Day celebrations which mark Canada's 144th Birthday. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, arrives on Centre Court as she and husband Prince William prepare to watch Britain's Andy Murray and France's Richard Gasquet at the 2011 Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Tennis Club, in south-west London, on June 27, 2011. (GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)
Britain's Prince William (R) and his wife Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge, (L) leave Centre Court after watching Britain's Andy Murray and France's Richard Gasquet at the 2011 Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Tennis Club, in south-west London, on June 27, 2011. (GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)
Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, (Front C) takes part in a 'Mexican Wave' as her husband Prince William (Front R) looks on as they watch Spanish player Rafael Nadal challenge Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro in a Men's Singles match at the 2011 Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Tennis Club, in south-west London, on June 27, 2011. (GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)
Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge walks through Victoria Barracks in Windsor, west of London, on June 25, 2011, during a medal parade for the 1st Battalion Irish Guards Regiment. (CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - JUNE 25: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visits Victoria Barracks during a medal parade for the 1st Battalion Irish Guards Regiment on June 25, 2011, in Windsor, United Kingdom . (Carl Court - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, smiles as she watches the procession at the Order of the Garter Service at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle on June 13, 2011 in Windsor. The Order of the Garter is the senior and oldest British Order of Chivalry, founded by Edward III in 1348. Membership in the order is limited to the sovereign, the Prince of Wales, and no more than 24 members. (KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 11: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge makes her way down the Mall during the Trooping the Colour procession on June 11, 2011 in London, England. The ceremony of Trooping the Colour is believed to have first been performed during the reign of King Charles II. In 1748, it was decided that the parade would be used to mark the official birthday of the Sovereign. More than 600 guardsmen and cavalry make up the parade, a celebration of the Sovereign's official birthday, although the Queen's actual birthday is on 21 April. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 13: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Camilla, Duchess of Cambridge (L) attend the annual Order of the Garter Service at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on June 13, 2011 in Windsor, England. The Order of the Garter is the senior and oldest British Order of Chivalry, founded by Edward III in 1348. Membership in the order is limited to the sovereign, the Prince of Wales, and no more than twenty-four members. (Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The Duchess of Cambridge leaves with other members of the royal family after a Church Service to mark Prince Philip's 90th birthday in Windsor, west of London, on June 12, 2011. (CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 11: Catherine; Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William; Duke of Cambridge join HM Queen Elizabeth II to celebrates her official birthday by taking part in the Trooping the Colour parade on June 11, 2011 in London, England. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will join other members of the royal family to take part in the ceremony which has marked the official birthday of the British sovereign since 1748. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Members of Britain's royal family, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge (L) speaks with Princess Eugenie (R) on the balcony ahead of The Derby horse race during the second day of the Epsom Derby Festival, in Surrey, southern England, on June 4, 2011. Pour Moi ridden by Jockey Mickael Barzalona won the race, Treasure Beach came second and race favorite Carlton House came third place. The Queen's horse, Carlton House, ridden by Ryan Moore, was seeking to be the first Derby winner owned by a reigning monarch since Minoru won in 1909 for King Edward VII. (ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, attends the 10th Annual Absolute Return for Kids (ARK) Gala Dinner on behalf of the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry, at Perks Field, Kensington Palace, in London, on June 9, 2011. (ARTHUR EDWARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 24: US First Lady Michelle Obama (R) meets with Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace on May 24, 2011 in London, England. The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, and his wife Michelle are in the UK for a two day State Visit at the invitation of HM Queen Elizabeth II. During the trip they will attend a state banquet at Buckingham Palace and the President will address both houses of parliament at Westminster Hall. (Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 30: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge walk hand in hand from Buckingham Palace the day after their wedding to a waiting helicopter as they leave for a secret honeymoon location, on April 30, 2011 in London, England. The marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton was led by the Archbishop of Canterbury and was attended by 1900 guests, including foreign Royal family members and heads of state. Thousands of well-wishers from around the world have also flocked to London to witness the spectacle and pageantry of the Royal Wedding. (John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge leaves Clarence House accompanied by Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall to travel to Buckingham Palace for the evening celebrations following her wedding to Prince William earlier in the day on April 29, 2011 in London. (JOHN STILLWELL/AFP/Getty Images)
Kate Middleton waves as she arrives at the West Door of Westminster Abbey in London for her wedding to Britain's Prince William, on April 29, 2011. (ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London, following their wedding on April 29, 2011. (JOHN STILLWELL/AFP/Getty Images)
Kate Middleton waves as she arrives at the West Door of Westminster Abbey in London for her wedding to Britain's Prince William, on April 29, 2011. (ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Kate Middleton has her dress adjusted as she arrives with her father Michael at Westminster Abbey before her royal wedding to Britain's Prince William in central London on April 29, 2011. (SUZANNE PLUNKETT/AFP/Getty Images)
ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Kate Middleton smiles as she meets members of the public during a visit to the University of St Andrews on February 25, 2011 in St Andrews, Scotland. The couple returned to the university where they first met to launch a fundraising campaign for a new GBP 13 million scholarship and students support. The couple will marry in a much anticipated ceremony at Westminster Abbey on April 29th. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MARCH 08: Kate Middleton arrives at City Hall on March 8, 2011 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Royal Couple are visiting Northern Ireland as part of a tour of the country that a couple of weeks ago took them to St Andrews University in Scotland and Anglesey in North Wales to launch a lifeboat. This day-long trip to Ireland has been kept top secret due to security issues. They will marry on the 29th April at Westminster Abbey in a much anticipated ceremony. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
DARWEN, ENGLAND - APRIL 11: Kate Middleton waves runners over the finish line during a 100m sprint at Whitton Park on April 11, 2011 in Darwen, England. With less than three weeks to go until the Royal Wedding Prince William and Kate Middleton are making one of their final public appearances. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Yet only last week, the Palace had asked newspapers not to print photographs of a grumpy-looking Duke of Cambridge getting off a train at Cambridge station.

Chris Hutchings, a privacy expert with the law firm Hamlins, said the Royal family had a fine line to tread between what is invasive and what is not, but they would risk accusations of image control if they were inconsistent in their guidance to the media.

He said: “Privacy is a very uncertain area of the law. It has ebbed and flowed over the last 10 years, but what previous cases have established is that that there should be a degree of consistency [by complainants].

“If you do permit some things and not others it is a form of image control as opposed to a form of privacy.”

Niri Shan, head of intellectual property and media at Taylor Wessing solicitors, said: “Last month it was reported that the Duke and Duchess have set up companies to protect their image rights, which shows the value they place on their image.

“If a publisher found itself fighting a privacy case brought by a member of the Royal family in the future, the argument you would use would be that it’s not about a right to privacy, it’s about them controlling their image.

“Typically, celebrities don’t complain about photos they like, but they do complain about pictures they don’t like, and cry privacy.

“I’m not sure that argument would succeed in the case of the Royal family, but it makes it difficult for the media to judge what is acceptable and what is not acceptable.”

The photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge, carrying Prince George on her hip, were taken as she and her family got off a British Airways flight in the Caribbean and switched to a smaller aircraft for the short hop to Mustique, where the family have been celebrating Carole Middleton’s 59th birthday. The Duke of Cambridge, who is in the middle of a 10-week course at Cambridge University, did not join them.

Front page photographs of the Prince in a pale blue romper suit and sunhat were accompanied by the headline: “Hasn’t he grown! Prince George's first holiday as doting Kate jets off on a sunshine family break.”

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are still fighting a privacy battle in the French courts over topless photographs of the Duchess sunbathing at a French villa which were taken from a public road.

In 2010 Kate Middleton, as she then was, secured an apology and a payment for damages from the picture agency Rex Features after it syndicated photographs of her playing tennis in Cornwall which were taken from a public footpath but which she argued were an invasion of her privacy.

A year ago ITV apologised “unreservedly” for showing the front cover of an Italian magazine featuring pictures of the pregnant Duchess, in a bikini, on a public beach in Mustique. The Duchess’s aides had described the pictures as “a clear breach of the couple’s privacy”.

A Royal aide said of the Prince George pictures: “We would of course prefer that the pictures hadn’t been published, but in this instance there was no harassment and no pursuit. The pictures were all taken at an airport and the Duchess didn’t know she was being photographed.”

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