Kensington Palace issued a letter Friday appealing to the media to stop publishing unauthorized photos of Prince George, who has become subject to “an increasing number of incidents of paparazzi harassment.”

The letter is written by Jason Knauf, communications secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and it thanks the “vast majority of publications around the world,” and all British publications, for refusing to publish unauthorized photos of Prince George. However, there’s still a market for these photos, and “it is hoped that those who pay paparazzi photographers for their images of children will be able to better understand the distressing activity around a two-year old boy that their money is fueling.”

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. In a heightened security environment such 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 the letter, in recent months photographers have:

• on multiple occasions used long range lenses to capture images of The Duchess playing with Prince George in a number of private parks;

• monitored the movements of Prince George and his nanny around London parks and monitored the movements of other household staff;

• photographed the children of private individuals visiting The Duke and Duchess’s home;

• pursued cars leaving family homes;

• used other children to draw Prince George into view around playgrounds;

• been found hiding on private property in fields and woodland locations around The Duke and Duchess’s home in Norfolk;

• obscured themselves in sand dunes on a rural beach to take photos of Prince George playing with his grandmother;

• placed locations near the Middleton family home in Berkshire under steady surveillance

“A line has been crossed,” it reads, and George’s parents feel they need to defend their children’s right—and the right of their playmates—to a childhood free of excessive, frightening surveillance.

The Duke and Duchess are of course 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.

Many celebrity parents, including Kristen Bell and Jennifer Garner, have taken a public stand against the treatment of their children by paparazzi. However, this is undoubtedly a particularly potent issue for the family of Prince William, who lost his mother in a paparazzi-fueled car accident.

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An absolute wealth of photos of the very adorable Prince George are available to the media, either from public events (like the one above) or released by the royal family—and while it’s unlikely to change anytime soon, there is really no good reason this kid should be getting trailed by creepy men.


Contact the author at ellie@jezebel.com.

Image via Getty.