Today, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got a substantial win for their and baby Archie’s privacy going forward in court—and also revealed the impact that photos taken of their private home had on their own security and life. The development comes amid the couple’s decision to raise their son as out of the public eye as possible.
On Thursday Harry released a statement that he accepted a formal apology and damages from photo agency Splash News after Splash hired a helicopter to take photographs of his and Meghan’s Oxfordshire country home, which ran in The Times and other outlets back in January. The Sun was the first British outlet to run aerial photos of the Cotswold house‘s location before Splash got its own photos.
In the statement, read by his solicitor in court this morning, Harry said that the breach of privacy was so bad, he and Meghan ultimately had to move out of the home. (The two left the property in March after being first reported to have canceled their two-year lease in January.)
“The syndication and publication of the photographs very seriously undermined the safety and security of The Duke and the home to the extent that they are no longer able to live at the property,” Harry’s statement read.
Harry detailed in the statement that he and Meghan chose the home because of “the high level of privacy it afforded given its position in a secluded area surrounded by private farmland, away from any areas to which photographers have access.” When Splash got its helicopter, it flew “at a low altitude allowing Splash to take photographs of and into the living area and dining area of the home and directly into the bedroom.”
Splash will no longer sell, issue, or publish those photos or any similar ones. Additionally, “it will not repeat its conduct by using any aerial means to take photographs or film footage of the Duke’s private home, which would infringe privacy or data rights or otherwise be unlawful activity.”
Harry intends to donate some money from the lawsuit to a charity. A spokeswoman for Prince Harry told ELLE.com that “the Duke of Sussex was awarded a significant sum towards damages and legal fees, which will be put towards a donation to charity and covering the duke’s legal costs.”
Meghan and Harry’s Plans to Protect Archie’s Privacy Going Forward
In April, the Sussexes moved into Frogmore Cottage, which was gifted to them by Queen Elizabeth, and will offer their family significantly more privacy.
The Cottage has been fitted with extensive security measures and will also undergo a planting program to obscure currently visible areas from paparazzi intrusion, similar to what Harry’s brother Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton did at Kensington Palace to protect their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis from unwarranted intrusion.
A source close to The Duke and Duchess of Sussex told ELLE.com that Harry and Meghan consider Baby Archie a “private citizen” and “because he is not in the immediate line of succession, they want their son to enjoy as normal an upbringing as possible.”
The couple intends to “shield him” and “keep many of the details of his life private.”
Like the Cambridges, Meghan and Harry will periodically share photos of their son and at some point, he will join his parents publicly on a Royal Tour, much like Prince George did with William and Kate in New Zealand and Australia. The couple is aware of the massive interest in their son, but he will likely lead a much more private life than even the Cambridges’ children enjoy now.
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