Prince George harassed by paparazzi

Prince George is no ordinary 2-year-old boy.

Be that as it may, Prince William and Kate Middleton's firstborn son is  still entitled to his privacy. As such, Jason Knauf, communications secretary at Kensington Palace, wrote a letter addressed to the international media Friday to prevent the publication of unauthorized photos of Princess Charlotte's brother.

"In recent months, there have been an increasing number of incidents of paparazzi harassment of Prince George," he said. "And the tactics being used are increasingly dangerous." The "vast majority of publications around the world" have agreed not to publish such photos, for which the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are 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."

According to Knauf, the royal couple is "glad that leaders in the media industry share the view that every child, regardless of their future public role, deserves a safe, happy and private childhood. They have been delighted to share official photographs of Prince George and Princess Charlotte in recent months to thank the public for the thousands of kind messages of support they have received."

Knauf noted that news photographers "have had several recent opportunities to take photos of the family" during official events, and that traditional shall continue. "These will be a regular occurrence as both children get older," he promised.

"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."

For reasons other than the prince's privacy, he explained that "in a heightened security environment," such paparazzi tactics 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."

According to Knauf, "This incident was not an isolated one."

"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 No. 1 target. We have made the decision to discuss these issues now as the incidents are becoming more frequent and the tactics more alarming," Knauf continued. "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. They know that almost all parents love to share photos of their children and they themselves enjoy doing so. But they know every parent would object to anyone—particularly strangers—taking photos of their children without their permission." Knauf said the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge "are 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."

The royals will continue to take legal steps should future incidents occur, he said.