England’s royal palace has issued a warning to paparazzi to back off from what it describes essentially as a stalking campaign of 2-year-old Prince George in a letter to international media that was made public Friday.
“In recent months, there have been an increasing number of incidents of paparazzi harassment of Prince George,” wrote Kensington Palace communications secretary Jason Knauf. “And the tactics being used are increasingly dangerous.”
Knauf described several of the methods being used, including photographers hiding in sand dunes on a rural beach to snap photos of George and his grandmother, one snapping George’s play area from the trunk of a car after having covered the inside with sheets to conceal it, and the use of other children as bait for George at playgrounds. He seemed to warn that such tactics might lead to photographers being mistaken for greater security threats.
“In a heightened security environment such tactics are a risk to all involved,” Knauf wrote. “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.”
The letter also compared the surveillance to past, more extreme incidents without specifying what those were.
“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,” the royal notice read.
George’s grandmother, Princess Diana, was famously killed in 1997 when her drunk chauffeur crashed their car while fleeing chasing paparazzi.
The cable expressed gratitude to British media, “reputable publications throughout the Commonwealth,” and most American media for using official photography of George and his younger sister, Princess Charlotte.
The BBC reported that the unauthorized images had been published mostly in Germany, France, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S. The letter said that Prince William and Duchess Catherine “want both children to be free to play in public and semi-public spaces with other children without being photographed.”
“The Duke and Duchess are of course very fortunate to have private homes where photographers cannot capture images of their children,” the communiqué read. “But they feel strongly that both Prince George and Princess Charlotte should not grow up exclusively behind palace gates and in walled gardens.”