Royals rap Prince George-hunting paparazzi
Kensington Palace has accused paparazzi photographers of harassing Prince George, saying the royal toddler had become their "number one target" and accusing them of going to "extreme lengths" to get pictures of him.
In an unusually strongly-worded open letter, Jason Knauf, the communications secretary of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, said the tactics used by some photographers were creating a "very real security risk".
Scotland Yard echoed complaints that covert photographers pose a security threat and warned they could be putting themselves at risk from armed intervention at a time when officers are at a "heightened level of readiness".
The palace's hard-hitting letter detailed a series of incidents involving paparazzi, such as using children to draw Prince George into view in playgrounds and an incident last week when a photographer set up a "hide" in his car with sheets and supplies of food and drink as he staked out a play area.
The actions of photographers had left William and Kate "concerned about their ability to provide a childhood for Prince George and Princess Charlotte free from harassment and surveillance".
Other incidents included:
- Photographers pursuing cars leaving family homes.
- Surveillance of the Berkshire home of the Duchess's parents, Carole and Michael Middleton.
- Hiding in dunes to take photos of Prince George playing with his grandmother.
- Hiding on private property in fields and woodland around the Duke and Duchess's home in Norfolk.
Meanwhile, Scotland Yard warned photographers that they face putting themselves in danger at a time when the national security threat level from international terrorism is severe.
A statement said: "The covert actions of photographers have at times caused concerns during police protection operations when they have been considered a possible security threat."
It continued: "Photographers are potentially putting themselves at risk from armed intervention where our armed officers perceive a risk to the personal safety of their principal, the public and themselves."
The royal couple "expressed their gratitude to British media organisations for their policy of not publishing unauthorised photos of their children".
But Mr Knauf said "a handful of international media titles" were willing to pay for images of Prince George taken in covert ways.