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Royal Pap Shots: Terrorism Issue, Not Privacy

Saturday, August 15, 2015


Yesterday, William and Kate's Press Secretary Jason Knauf released a very interesting letter on behalf of TRHs addressing paparazzi pictures of Prince George. It was quite different from any other communiqué, where the press office released some boiler-plate complaint to which no one really paid much mind.



This letter was a direct appeal to the public, in addition to the foreign editors. Not only that, it did not just allude to paparazzi activity, it spelled out in detail certain tactics used to gain these snaps. Most relevantly, it discussed a certain incident which seems to have sparked what has developed into quite a serious issue. The scenario described is as follows:
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.
As you are all aware, I have strongly supported paparazzi photos of the adult royals over the years. I think that as long as William and Kate are in a public place, they are not exempt from the camera. I have argued that if they need complete seclusion, they have houses to retreat to and vacation destinations at their disposal. 

The problem with this letter is that it isn't actually addressing pure privacy. This memo talks about privacy, but the core point is actually security, which is a separate matter. The Palace stated:
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.
The concern here is not privacy, it is terrorism! Safety, not image, is what has really rattled William and Kate, and in all honesty, it rattles me, too. We live in an increasingly violent and ugly world, and political unrest is sweeping the globe. I do not doubt for a minute that precious baby George and soon his sister Charlotte and siblings to follow, might be targets. 

The Met Police issued a statement after the Palace's, and I have emphasized some parts in bold that I think are particularly important:
The covert actions of photographers have at times caused concerns during police protection operations when they have been considered a possible security threat.
Our role is to maintain security and there is a risk to those who choose to use covert tactics when a police operation is in place. At a time when the national security threat level from international terrorism is at severe, all officers are at a heightened level of readiness.
Officers involved in the security of protected people are armed and have to constantly assess security risks. Photographers using covert tactics often come to the attention of armed officers who take steps to stop and verify the details of those who raise suspicions. 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.

When assessing potential threats armed officers have to make split second decisions regarding their use of force in order to protect their principals, the public and their colleagues.

Whilst the majority of photographers work responsibly we would ask those that choose to use covert tactics to consider their actions in light of this potential risk.
Plain translation: take these covert snaps at your own risk.  If you are hiding in the boot of your car and we mistake the glint of your camera lens to be the edge of a deadly weapon, and we take action...you were warned. This is very serious! When people are assassinated in broad daylight, one minute it is normal and the next someone is dead. That's how WWI got kicked off. I think we forget that the security details attached to the royals are not just fancy accouterments. Terrorism is at an all-time high and it can be very hard for an officer to determine if he/she has a real situation or just a snapper, and they have a life or death call to make with very little time to deliberate. 

The problem I have is that the Palace seems to be mixing the two issues. They framed an aspect of paparazzi shots that has created a security concern for both the subject of the snaps (George, Kate, Carole, whomever) and the safety of the photographer should he be mistaken for someone with nefarious designs! We are not talking about a privacy line so much as we are talking about people's lives. That is a bigger deal. 

There is obviously some overlap here, but to frame it foremost as privacy concern with security mixed in is disingenuous and probably harmful. The Met police--who provide the PPOs for the royal family--are having trouble distinguishing a paparazzo from a security threat. That is a tough issue to solve because in this instance the pap could look the same as the security threat, but it is not the same issue and ought not to bundled in with it. Possibly, the Palace is thinking they can use the security threat to also make a stab (pun partially intended) at the pap shots they are always frustrated by. If this is the case, it is very unwise to attempt to put them together. This should be presented to the public as a separate issue. Only when it is unpacked can we really fully assess the situation and work toward a solution. 

At this point, the Met seems to be throwing down a reasonable warning. If you are a pap and are taking photos in the normal manner of a pap photographer, out in the open, etc, the royals will be annoyed, but that's a privacy spat. If you are using elaborate tactics to hide yourself in this "covert" manner and the police cannot immediately determine if you are a threat or just a snapper, you might be risking your life. 

The Palace has chosen the wrong tact on this and and should immediately switch their strategy. From the two documents it appears that both photographers and possibly George are in danger, and it should not look like the Palace press office is trying to capitalize on this to end casual photos in general. To be clear, I do not say this because I am looking to defend pap shots, but because one issue is far, far more grave than the other. We can all disagree about whether pap shots of George, taken in a public location, are fair, but no one would argue that his safety must be assured, in addition to the safety of the photographers, no matter how much you dislike their work! 

The sooner the Palace does away with the double-talk, makes the distinction, and says--we have a problem balancing paparazzi photos, not because they annoy us, but because our security team often worries that a photographer is a terrorist--the sooner we should be able to get some traction to fix the issue. That might be the better deterrent, too. Paps: you could die. Do you want to die? For a few photos? Because someone on the beat was stressed and thought they had a terrorist gunning for the future king of England? I think the covert photos would either stop or almost disappear. That wouldn't dry up candids, but it would alleviate that particular security concern. 

So, to be very clear. A valid discussion can be had about paparazzi pictures and children. What is the line, where is the line, etc. But, this is not that discussion. This is a very, very serious matter, related to paparazzi activity, but having to do with security, and it should be dealt with as the primary issue and not as a part of a broader problem that has been (and will be) an ongoing dispute between the Palace and the public. 

88 comments:

  1. Ahh, thank you so so much for this post! I have been going slightly insane in the last couple of days.. In all honesty, the lack of understanding from so many people (including well known Royal reporters have really baffled me) I did not understand how no-one saw this as a possible terrorism threat. It's not only the mistaken camera/gun situation.. But also someone following them might give away routines, times and locations etc.. Especially in this time that is not information that should be out there... The terrorism threats are so high at this point. Most people were discussing privacy issues etc.. Which of course is still something to discuss, however in my opinion that was not the main focus of their statement.. I was mostly shocked by R.Palmers lack of understanding.. It was if he was trying to fuel discussions and dissatisfaction :( Very dissapointing

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    1. Is it possible that the privacy issue was presented as a way to make the issues more relatable for other parents? The
      public's support is needed .
      Who has to worry about personal security issues, as in terrorists, to the exent that body guards are employed?
      I can't relate to that. I can relate, however, as a grandmother, to the ever-present threat my grandchildren face
      from predators as they ride their bikes, use the interet, and travel to school. Even while at school. That is certainly
      a security issue that can have its roots in privacy issues.mk
      It is the stalking, intrusive, covert methods of some professional photographers that has conjoined the issues of
      privacy and security. Not the KP press office. They are describing the situation, not inventing it.
      Perhaps the letter
      was meant to have an effect similar to the parson preaching about sin that leaves everyone in the congregation
      wondering, "Is he talking about me?"
      Certainly, some paps have been ID'd. Why go after the few when some not yet known or contemplating such methods
      can be discouraged by the letter. How do we know those few AREN'T being dealt with, anyway?

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  2. The post you listed last night resulted in a very adult and sensible debate, now the Met Police have clearly stated their concerns in relation to terrorism, which is perfectly understandable and in the interests of public safety, I believe a very much needed thing to say. But let's be honest here, are the paps that gets these pictures not well known in the circles of the media? Surely a person which an ordinary mobile phone with a decent camera is more of a threat as they could be ( I'm not saying they are) home grown terrorists? I think William and Kate need to seriously and realistically address this issue of the desire to watch the next generation of the royal family grow up and their desire as a family to be as normal as possible. And just on this point, suddenly the photos that were taken of George being a regular little boy are ok, even though they were taken by the paparazzi? The same as the photos taken when they were in Oz? Is it because the public admired them as parents, corrrecting George's naughtiness? I think someone needs to suggest the Kate and Wills make a decision, stick to it and stop changing the goal posts. They are starting to look very controlling and I for one am starting to loose interest in them.

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    1. If you read the original letter from Kensington Palace, you will see that there has been a clear distinction made between official members of the press and paparazzi. TRH have no problems with pictures when they are working, or out in public with the knowledge pictures will be taken (like Australia with George or the christening). Their objection is when paparazzi are going to extreme lengths to conceal their presence in an attempt to take candid photos without the family even being aware they are being watched. This is not about image. It is tantamount to being stalked. I feel if someone with a camera phone snaps a picture of Prince George at a park, they take no issue with those random occurrences. They had no objection to the photos at the polo field because Kate knew if would happen. That is a very different entity than a paparazzi hiding in tall grass at a beach, snapping pictures and the subjects are unaware. It is very likely to assume this type of covert behaviour has genuine security concerns. As a mother myself, I can relate to how they must be feeling.

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    2. If you read my post correctly, you will see that I am referring to the photos that were taken by the paparazzi which initially were complained about by the Royals and then they subsequently back tracked on that complaint. I have never said that being photographed by a stranger with a camera phone is not being stalked. They are public figures and as such need to strike a balance. The UK, despite having a free press, when it comes to the Royals, we do not have a free press. I personally didn't approve of their decision to walk to the christening with so many people, how scary must that have been for a little boy?

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    3. Ah, but the people who can snap a photo on their phones don't get the big bucks a photo taken by a high quality camera can get. If you've got a great lens and a camera that shoots 10 photos per second, and you're just that creepy, then you are the one hiding in the trunk. Sad to say but true. If I saw Kate in a store, and was of a mind to take a photo, my phone might get off one blurry picture.

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  3. Oh Jane, thanks! That was my take too, and I am so happy that you were able to express my idea so well! The palace has done a big mistake: the letter should have had the focus on the security threat, NOT on the Cambridges wanted a secluded life! I am so glad you share my opinion. Do you mind if I put a link to you post? It is written so well!

    Martina

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  4. I think privacy is a substantial part of this issue. If their privacy were not invaded then there would be no security issue.
    This site is still displaying a photo which it now appears was taken by a covert pap - the one of George and Kate at a play park. I think this site and others like it have got to take a stand and stop using 'candid' shots from private events.

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  5. Agree 100%. I wish you email this post to William and Kate.

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  6. Your are so right Jane in focusing on the security issue this raises. It was what shocked me the most too, and now see how this is a very serious matter. Privacy is important yes, but not as urgent as security. I thought the letter was as good as it gets.I don't think a segregation between the two is needed because they go hand in hand. But whatever it is needs to stop before anyone gets hurt. I will be happy to forgo of pap shots if it means their safety and happiness. Small price to pay for fans.

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  7. I agree this was executed poorly. And the statement from the Met police was a mistake as well. As someone tweeted yesterday, "if an officer can't tell the difference between a gun and a camera maybe they shouldn't be an officer?"

    The UK does not have the "gun culture" the US does. If someone armed with nothing more than a camera was shot, there would be a backlash like no other, against the police and BRF. The backlash to the Met letter was apparent yesterday, with many objecting to the tone "if you get shot it's on you". Again, the UK is not at all the US on this issue.

    Trained security are used to dealing with photogs and aggressive paps, they've been doing it forever. If they see something truly suspicious they leave, if they investigate and find a photographer staked out in a car (again, not really shocking) they kick him out and tell him to move on. Well within law of inappropriate and harassing behaviour, particularly at a playground for the protection of even non-royal children! Repeated harassment can be dealt with by the laws already in place.

    Why no complaint when someone in bushes took pics of Kate and George playing in Australia? They had no idea anyone was watching, wasn't that creepy? Or Kate carrying infant George off a plane in Mustique? Isn't someone hiding on the tarmac at an airport the very definition of a security concern??!!

    A better strategy would have been an interview with the Cambridges, not to the extent of the Alastair Burnett interview, but something casual at home. Expressing how much they enjoy and appreciate the time they're getting for family life, but are concerned about the attention on their very young children. Appeal to the audience directly, it would get a lot of play and frankly earn them some good will which I think they increasingly need.

    The KP "thank yous" on twitter I found laughable, they're cultivating the twitter audience which is the worst at spreading these very pap pics they object to!

    Alright, time to move on :) I enjoy the discussion and debate!

    Claudia

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  8. Just coming back to add there is an interesting article online from The Guardian today (Saturday) that gives more detail about the letter, since this was a point of discussion. Quote "Knauf told the Guardian the letter was prompted by a sharp increase in paparazzi incidents this year and that the duke and duchess had been "heavily involved" in its writing."

    This was obvious to some of us from the beginning. Again, if there are problems with this "handful" of photogs, deal with them, don't do these blanket "warning" letters. If they are as serious as they claim, stop with the letters and head to court or file a police complaint. That would put an end to the "handful" of photogs that they claim are crossing the line. Even Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis had a restraining order on one particular pap. These blanket warnings that come out sometimes, but not at other times, are what's frustrating the press corps and public frankly, and rightfully so.

    Claudia

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    1. I agree with you Claudia. I sympathize with the harrassment and element of surprise in finding out that there are people holed up in cars to take pictures of your children. However, I can only sympathise so much as these children have very costly round the clock protection and are probably the safest children on the planet. The paparazzi want pictures and nothing more, and honestly I do not see what the huge deal is if they do manage to get a few pictures now and then. The photographers, the paparazzi and members of the press pack live lives that are ordinary and with one-thousandth of the luxury that Kate and William do. Most of them are unable to make a certain income each month and often have to scramble to pay the rent. If they are able to make a day's salary off of a picture of Kate and George playing in the park what is big deal here ? If I were in their position I doubt that I would care THIS much. I would definitely stop going to places where the paps hang out (like other celebrities) and I would arrange for more playdates with other friends - which is something we do anyway.. Kids really much prefer playing one-on-one with other children by the time they are three years old anyway, and my kids always enjoyed playdates over parks for the most part. But getting THIS bent over about a few pictures on the beach is, I think an overreaction.

      That being said, I do understand that people have different preferences and ideas of boundaries. For instance one of the commentators here mentioned in the previous post that she banned a babysitter over taking pictures of her kids - which I found to be quite the opposite of my reaction. I personally loved having my nanny and babysitters take pictures of my kids. They were loved and cherished by these people and captured my children's best moments when I was not around to witness them. I loved having videos emailed to me when I was travelling - one of the collages in our home was made with pictures our nanny gave us. ALL of them were taken by her in a one year span. I am a generally trusting and loving individual and do not believe the worst in people and was okay with sharing my children's infinite cuteness with others. These people are now still in my kids' lives in some form or other.

      I honestly feel that William and Kate need to relax. Their children are loved by nations and thousands. Just sharing a few pictures is not going to harm them. They seem to have this abstract notion that "privacy" is of paramount importance. The paparazzi might tell you that they would give up their privacy for an assured income and a roof over their head that won't be taken away. Just some generosity of spirit and kindness towards the less fortunate would go a long way in earning people's empathy and respect, I feel. William and Kate might try it some day.

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    2. I agree Anon 1:17 and I'm increasingly surprised that so many people are taking this KP letter at face value, easily believing their version of events.

      Shouldn't allegations of such security concerns be examined and investigated? In the playground allegation, reporters should be asking: Who was the photographer? Where did this happen? What kind of car was he in? (let's face it, the boot or trunk of a sedan seems a lot more sinister than if he was in wagon/SUV type where the back seat and boot are same space, suddenly seems a little less serious)

      Is the KP letter complete truth? Maybe. Is it close to the truth? Probably. Did the "heavily involved" Cambridges use a little creative license to get their points home? Likely.

      As always there are two sides to every story and every respectable journalist should ask for more details on these incidents concerning a future monarch. When the Cambridges first complained about photographers taking aerial shots of Anmer Hall it got a lot of press, what didn't get as much play was that the complaint was dismissed outright, largely because the evidence and claims could not be authenticated. Only Richard Palmer did an article on that, that I'm aware of.

      Claudia

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    3. It seems to me that those who are offended by this letter seem to object more to the fact that William and Kate have money and live a privileged life. This is not the point. The point is the safety of their children. They may be wealthy, famous, and royal but they are still people who love their children more than life itself. I am a mother and a grandmother. If I thought some stranger was hiding to take pictures of my babies I would rip off their face and then call the police. Anyone who has kids and says any different is not being honest with themselves. Now add the fact that your 2 year old is the future ruler of a nation and the risk of kidnapping goes up significantly. Look how proud ISIS is when they kidnap and behead normal, everyday people. As Jane pointed out, there are horrible, awful, even evil people in this world. We are much more globally mobile now and nefarious people can come from anywhere. Maybe they shouldn't have combined the privacy with the security issue but when you live in a fishbowl the two are probably kissing cousins.

      If the people who hide in bushes and take covert photos of famous people cannot make ends meet then maybe they should find a more productive way to make a living with their cameras. It's not the responsibility of the photographic subjects to make sure they can snap those covert pictures. That's why we have stalking laws here in the US. It took a couple of murdered celebrities to get that law enacted. It shouldn't have to reach that point to know that it's just wrong no matter who they're following.

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    4. Absolutely, Robin. Will and Kate are well within their rights to be deeply upset at having their two-year-old son stalked and photographed - and we only see photos from a fraction of the time that paps are waiting to capture images of him. As adults, William has some control over his exposure, and Kate chose her life with a good amount of understanding of what it would entail, but George is basically still a baby and needs to be left alone most of the time.

      As to how important privacy is - I'm happy to bet that no one here has any idea what it's like to be constantly harassed and followed by paparazzi, so I'd like to suggest that we defer to the opinions of those who do. Not in the sense of they get to do whatever they want, but in the sense that they have vastly more experience in this matter, and they probably have a pretty good reason for issuing a statement.

      Also, it seems to me that the KP letter only briefly mentioned the safety of paparazzi, focusing much more on the creepiness of their behavior, and that the "it's your-own-fault-if-we-shoot-you" line was taken separately by the Met. I don't think the two letters ought to be jointly attributed to W & K or to KP - their letter by itself seemed to me like a reasonable letter to appeal to the kind intentions of the public.

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    5. Robin, fantastic post! I couldn't agree more.

      My goodness, if you and I were husband and wife, we'd be completing each other's sentences. :) (In the last post, I made a similar observation about the world we live in....)

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    6. Claudia, I am sure that the questions you are asking have been addressed by the appropriate authorities and I believe they have all their ducks in a row.

      I will just add that it makes me sad to read comments were folks are more willing to question W&K and their motives rather than the actions/incidents that finally forced them to issue the letter.

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    7. With utmost respect royalfan :) that's the job of a responsible press and a responsible citizen.

      When KP makes a strong statement, journalists should examine it, get the other side when possible. At my age, my rose colored glasses were put away many moons ago! And as I pointed out, it wouldn't be the first time the Cambridges, and others, made very strong allegations only to have them refuted later. The more I think on it, if the instances were as severe as they allege, immediate police or legal action could and should have been taken. KP can put out its letter, journalists should report it, and provide independent investigation of the incidents if possible. (didn't intend all that alliteration!)

      Truly enjoy the debate and discussion!

      Claudia

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    8. I would have to ask you Claudia, if the Cambridges are making this up, then how did we get all those photos of George and Carole at the beach, of George playing at the playground, of George and his nanny taking walks in the park, or any number of others? Even here on this blog (which I love) look at "the most recent candid of Kate" photo. How was it obtained? There is photographic proof that they are not making this up. The guy in his car was confirmed by the police. Nobody has security tighter than the President of the United States and yet JFK was assassinated, Ronald Reagan was shot, Gerald Ford missed a bullet by inches. Every time they walk anywhere the Secret Service agents surround them and yet the crazies get through. Now, as Jane points out, terrorism is rampant. ISIS tortures and beheads people and then post it for all to see. They are proud of this. I don't understand the criticism of these parents who want to protect their children who would be considered "high value targets" as the military calls them. Baffling.

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    9. royalfan, Will we die if they separate our brains? ;-)

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    10. Hi Robin: I'm thinking you must have replied in haste because clearly nowhere do I write that the Cambridges made up the fact that photos were taken. It has just struck me that we're doing a lot of hand wringing and having much discussion over a complaint that we only know one side of, and I'm wondering if there's more information to be had on the circumstances surrounding HOW the photographs were taken.

      KP put out an open letter to the press and public, it is only natural that the public, and particularly the press, will have more questions. The fact is, none of the complaints/letters that William has released (or Kate at his urging) have withstood scrutiny. This is an emotionally charged issue because it involves children, just look at the responses on this blog alone. Some who know William's past tactics would argue that's exactly what he had in mind.

      And it's not just complaints. When an excellent reporter with impeccable sources broke the news of William's EAAA job, KP shot her down immediately, told other reporters they should question her account and her sources, that it was "absolutely not under consideration." That can be devastating for a journalist to have your story so publicly and officially denied, a younger or less experienced reporter could have lost a career over it. And we all know what the truth was in the end.

      There are many positive stories of the Cambridges, but we can't automatically embrace all the good stories and instantly decry the negative ones. I hope most of us are more objective than that. Extreme stories sell papers and make good headlines but the truth is usually somewhere in the middle.

      I enjoy reading these blogs and have never commented as much as I have this weekend! There are several issues I have a long vested interest in and enjoy a healthy, respectful, informed debate. That doesn't mean I "smack of bitterness" am "baffling" or my opinions should "boggle the mind". I'm happy to read opposing points of view and am often moved by other arguments, there are after all two sides to every coin. Maybe this is a blunter blog than I anticipated!

      I look forward to chatting with all in the future! Though style and fashion discussions I usually enjoy from the sidelines :)

      Claudia

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    11. Hi Claudia: My confusion arose from the question of the lack of truth in the letter. Maybe we all need to step back and consider what we really "know" about anything. We don't actually know that William puts anything forth through Kate, we don't know Kate had some photographer on her speed dial, we don't know anything because none of us have ever been in the same room with these people. William seems to take the brunt of all of the negativity and yet we claim to love Kate. Why would she love someone who would be as awful as some of these comments purport hime to be? But, when the police put forth a report that supports what was written in the letter I think we can trust that William was not "stomping his foot" as someone said. My comment about being bitter may not have applied to you. I have read so many. That comment is addressed to whoever can't join the discussion without pointing out how rich and privileged they are as if that makes them less human and not qualified to worry about their children. As to the EAAA job, I don't share this very often but, I used to work for a celebrity (who shall remain unnamed) and when news of an impending contract found its way into the media it was always denied. There are two parties to every contract and both must be agreed on the control of media statements. Until that happens you will get a denial because the contract may not be fully in place because of details still to be worked out. It's stressful on both sides but lawyers make those rules. One of the reasons after several years I resigned. That and some of said celebrities fans figured out how to hack my phone bill and get my private number. I kept telling them that this celebrity did not come to my house for dinner or anything else but they still called. They thought I knew private things I did not and anything I did know I wouldn't have told them. I know a reporter wants to get a scoop but sometimes it's best not to publish it without consent of the parties involved. Editors should know better than to put their reporters in this position as well.

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  9. In Britain it's always been accepted that Royal children will not be followed by paparazzi but allowed normal childhoods. It was the same for William & Harry. British papers won't touch pap shots of the kids or nanny and you only find them on international sites like Pop Sugar etc. I think the message is it's ok to photograph them in public but covert photography with long lenses is intrusive both as a security issue and privacy issue. let's not forget Williams own mother died whilst being dangerously pursued by paparazzi so he has a right to take offence at them perusing his wife and children as he knows it created dangerous security issues.

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    1. William's mother died because she got into the car with a drunk driver and didn't wear her seat belt.

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    2. Not even close.....

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    3. Anon 4:56 - You're missing 75% of the story.

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    4. Diana died because she didn't wear a seatbelt, the paparazzi aren't 100% to blame, sadly she played a part in her death.

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  10. Funny how people see things differently, I actually thought it was a thoughtful, respectful, and fairly uncontroversial warning. They are simply stating a basic point, that it isn't a safe way to behave, for anyone. For whatever reason. And let's remember it's also the public at large that is at risk when paps start hiding and ambushing. Other children, too! I think it's a wise move.

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  11. I disagree. Terrorism is used as an excuse for everything. W & K could make a long list of demands and restrictions based on terrorism. The truth is, they have A LOT of security.

    IMO Pippa is more at risk than George. She has no security and is followed, day and night. God forbid a crazy person comes after her. Much bigger security threat IMO.

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    1. I completely agree. It is a melodramatic stance and Jane is correct in pointing out that the issue *safety to paparazzi* is a different issue from privacy. IMO the safety issue is not with George, but rather with the paparazzi. They are in effect issuing a warning that if a RPO shoots a photog they are themselves to blame.

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    2. Thank you, but I want to highlight that the threat is to George, too. If security gets complacent, because they are used to covert paps, or if they hesitate, because they are unsure and don't want to injure or kill a civilian, that could potentially put George's life in danger, so...no, it is a big deal for both George and the photographer.

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    3. Maggie - MinneapolisAugust 16, 2015 at 2:39 AM

      Their PO's have to deal with death threats to the royals on a daily basis, and have to protect them not just on private outings but also huge public gatherings with tons of people waiting to see them. If they can handle those big appearances, I find it hard to believe that they will struggle to identify photographers vs terrorists. And if they get complacent, why wouldn't that would be the PO's mistake instead of of the photographer's? I'm sure there are a lot of things they could get complacent about that could easily become threats in the future. They probably have the same mailman deliver all of their mail to Anmer...would they stop searching the mail for explosives just because they're used to the guy and trust him? And would that be his fault if a bomb went off in Anmer (obviously an extreme example but still)? They could get used to seeing parents with children around Kate and George at a public park, but does that mean it's the parents' fault if one day security gets complacent and doesn't adequately keep an eye on someone who looks like a parent (because they have a kid) and then turns out to be a gunman? Aside from the fact that I highly doubt Scotland Yard protection will become complacent, I really just don't understand how that is anyone's fault but the security team's own.

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  12. I do agree that the privacy issue and the security issue are two separate things - for the adults. I think that when it comes to the children they are one and the same. I never got the impression that this was written to protect William and Kate but to protect their children. I think that if the "too bad" attitude that some posters have stated became a general feeling we would not see those children until they are grown.

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  13. Maggie - MinneapolisAugust 15, 2015 at 4:23 PM

    I'm confused as to what the terrorism threat to the Cambridges is (as related to these pictures and the stalking that goes into taking them). The photographers are not terrorists. They are not looking to physically hurt George. It sounds like the only threat is to photographers, who may be mistaken for terrorists and thus injured (although as others have said, hopefully the police can distinguish between the two). I guess I'm just confused as to how these photographers have actually increased the threat to George's physical security.

    I also wouldn't be surprised if the Cambridges mixed the issues of privacy and security in the letter not because they feel like the photographers are physical threats (as terrorists are), but rather, because they are conflating/comparing the methods of photographers and terrorists to try and make an emotional appeal for why the pap tactics are not okay, I.e. they think the invasion of privacy is creepy and make that point by comparing paps to terrorists. Quite frankly, the security portion of the letter came off as more of a threat or warning, like, "you may get shot of you continue these tactics bc they are similar to what scarier people do," and not as an actual reason for why paps are now security threats. To me, the letter comes off as them wanting privacy for their children but trying to spin it in scarier terms to make it more palatable to the general public. But I may just be missing the point for how paps are security threats (unless they start swarming George like they did with kate pre-marriage and diana).

    And as others have mentioned, they have plenty of security. If terrorism is such a concern for them, which I'm sure it is, then this letter seems like a waste of time since it does nothing about the people who actually want to physically hurt their children and not just take pictures of them.

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    1. Hi Maggie: if someone is hiding in the boot of a car, or behind elaborately screened windows in a van, etc., it can become a security threat because the agent on duty might notice the car is suspicious, but not know if the occupant is a terrorist or a photographer. SO he has to decide. If he decides it is a photog, but it is actually a terrorist--not good. If he decides it is a terrorist rather than a photog--again, not good. This is a serious matter and it is not the same as whether or not candid shots of George should be taken. I empathize deeply with both the Cambridges and the security personnel here, and I think that these sorts of tactics need to be abandoned by photographers immediately.

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    2. Very well said.

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    3. Maggie - MinneapolisAugust 16, 2015 at 2:33 AM

      Thanks Jane, for the response, but I still don't get exactly how that is a threat to George? I can see how the photographer might end up getting hurt, but not George. I imagine the security detail is going to err on the side of assuming a random person following them is a terrorist not a photographer. And even if all pap pictures stopped, what's to stop a terrorist from dressing up as a photographer anyways? Even if the pictures stopped, there would be no way to know that they were done for good so it would still be handled like that.
      I just don't understand at all how Prince George is safer if photographers stop doing these things outlined in the letter. Terrorists and other individuals will continue to pursue trying to hurt him (although I don't think any terrorist would really try to kill him because killing an adorable little boy is a great way for them to lose any support for their cause). If PO's can become so easily distracted/confused by a photographer, then I think they have bigger concerns than people just wanting to take pictures...like, the people who actually want to physically harm George. PO's are trained to be able to distinguish between normal things and threats. Otherwise, what would we say about someone, a member of the public not in media, who randomly comes across Kate and George at a park, and sneakily tries to take a picture of them by only poking out a little bit of their phone from their pocket or purse. That looks suspicious too. Are we going to be calling people like that security threats from now on too?
      It's not anyone's fault except the terrorists and other people looking to physically harm George that he is in danger. The paps are not the ones making him insecure - it's the people actively trying to kill him.

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  14. To make quick clarification to no one in particular, but to a number of general comments: I do not deny that privacy is intermingled here. They are addressing the tactics used to gain photos, but what I am saying is that security, George's and the pap's are the main point, by far the most serious point, and should be addressed very squarely. Again, to clarify, I am not talking about the use of the photos. Anyone could take an official snap of George and do weird things--my mind is not going to wander down that path--no, the security I am talking about is very basic. Physical safety. If the paparazzi are so hidden and covert that the PPOs have trouble determining if someone is just taking a picture or trying to hurt George, both George and the photographer are in danger.

    Lastly, as to the issue of privacy, I have no made up my mind. I do not apply the same candid policy to George that I do to Kate, because George is a child and Kate is an adult. That being said, I do not know where on the spectrum, yet, that I fall. I have great sympathy for Kate's concerns and I didn't have a problem with the letter beyond the point that they need to get the security under control ASAP and then discuss pap shots more broadly. Hope this helps to clarify... :)

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    1. And on the security issue, if they see a suspicious car, they investigate, like any other officer in any other city or part of the world. If it raises their suspicions so much they immediately get their charges out of the area and report it for other officers to follow up.

      As someone else pointed out, these are the most secure children in the world. They live behind guarded walls, they are surrounded by staff and highly trained police (taxpayer funded at that) - most parents can only wish for someone to keep such a close eye on their children. Ask the parent of anyone who's lost a child to crime.

      All to say, that the more I think on this, the more it comes off poorly to me from the Cambridges. Maybe because they mixed the issues in an effort to push their case.

      There are tens of thousands of children to worry about in the UK for various social and economic reasons, who are at risk of much more than having their photo taken. The wealthy, highly protected Cambridge children are doing just fine.

      Claudia

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    2. For all the luxury and perks, the Cambridge children have a bullseye on their backs. I completely understand where W&K are coming from. Completely.

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    3. @claudia
      I agree. I sometimes think that William and Kate don't grasp actual problems, but constantly complain about very little of nothing!

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    4. Very little of nothing? Do you follow current events?

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    5. Of course, ALL children need to be protected. I'm stunned, however, that anyone would think that the Cambridge children fall into the same category as every other child in the UK. As royalfan said, they have a bullseye on their backs. Again, this smacks more of a bitterness that they are wealthy and privileged so they don't have a right to mind that someone is stalking them to take photographs of their children to sell to the highest bidder. It boggles my mind.

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    6. Jane, I appreciate and agree with this statement of yours that is very well said: "Possibly, the Palace is thinking they can use the security threat to also make a stab (pun partially intended) at the pap shots they are always frustrated by. If this is the case, it is very unwise to attempt to put them together. This should be presented to the public as a separate issue. Only when it is unpacked can we really fully assess the situation and work toward a solution."

      Yes.

      Unfortunately, I think it is frustration that created the letter. David Cameron said, "the Cambridges deserve privacy." I've read that Carole and Kate now plan a trip to Mustique in November where paps aren't allowed and the beach can be enjoyed privately, if the story is true.

      The seriousness of terrorism toward the BRF should definitely not be misconstrued as part of the pap frustration.

      The Cambridges and Carole seem frustrated that there's nothing they can do about paps doing crazy and potentially personally risky things to get pictures despite their absolute first-rate security. Nothing they can do, except, impose limitations on themselves (as in going to Mustique to enjoy the beach?).

      Their superior security team does not *hurt or punish* non-terrorists and paps.

      Katherine USA

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    7. Jane
      Your post was brilliant.
      Well laid out argument and great comments from other posters.
      One of the most interesting topics on recent months.
      Thanks Jane
      Simone x

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  15. I would agree that security is more important than privacy, but considering the specific incidents described in the letter, I can understand linking the two issues.

    As I stated in the other post, how do the PO's know whether someone hiding in the dunes is paparazzi trying to take photos...or a more serious threat? The answer is that the PO's don't know (at least not during the initial critical moment) and the paparazzi have just been put on notice.

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    1. Yep! Like I said on the letter post, they're lucky the protection officers have not adopted the shoot first and ask questions later.

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  16. That is the job of security, to determine who is a threat and who isn't. Frankly, paps have been hiding for decades to get shots of the royal family. This IS NOT a new issue.

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    1. Paps are not a new issue. Terrorism and the technology available IS a more significant factor than ever before.

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    2. Actually terrorism isn't "new" to England, Priness Anne had an attempted kidnapping decades ago right on the Mall by Irish terrorists. And paps continued to hide and follow the BRF after that, NONE of this is new to anyone.

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    3. I have to reply quickly to this, because while terrorism is not new, you are correct, it is at a massive high and only projected to get worse. A cursory glance at world news makes this evident. We owe it to those currently being terrorized and murdered, and we owe it to those who will die in the coming years, to say out loud that violence is at an unprecedented high for our times. We should keep these people in our thoughts and prayers as we work toward our own safety and peace for the world.

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    4. Jane,

      That really almost implies that you are using those hurt by ISIS, terrorists, etc. to defend W&K's letter.

      I think that is what happens when we take photogs hiding to get pictures of George and try to attach it to terrorism threats.... It expands to your statement and just grows and grows.... Where do we stop?

      And it seems that as long as anyone attaches "terrorism" to anything, then no one can question it.

      Mention "terrorism" and full stop, we all must bow down. And that thinking is happening all over, government wire taps, etc. Now W&K, who have always hated the paps getting pictures of their children, are using terrorism.

      It becomes too much.

      LB

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    5. LB, what about the terrorist threats made during W&K's wedding preparations and other official events/occasions? The threat is very real and the proud public displays of it are almost a daily occurrence. Add fame to the mix and it becomes even more attractive for those with twisted minds. IMO, it would be very foolish and naïve of them, as parents, not to consider the possibility that someone hiding in the trunk of the car or in bushes is only after photographs. If it was your child or grandchild, would you be inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt?

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    6. What Kate actually did and what is urban myth is a matter of conjecture. At any rate, she was young and
      unmarried. That scenario bears absolutely no comparison to the current situation-Catherine is married, a mother
      with her children threatened, and a member of the royal family.mf
      William "foot stomping?" That sounds like disparagement to me. And maybe a little bit of verbal foot stomping
      going on in some comments.
      This is in response to anon 09:44

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  17. As someone stated earlier that the policeman shouldn't be a cop if he can't tell the difference between a gun or camera, think that the barrel of a gun and the lens of a camera when hidden be it in the boot of a car or bush, would be hard to tell apart for both are round and shiny..........this is a security threat and this day and age we should all be aware of same.

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  18. Quite honestly, I saw all this as William stamping his feet and using security as an excuse to get his way and invoke sympathy about the pap shots.

    I truly think the shots at the farm (K+G) and the beach (Carole + G) were set up or at least taken of with the parties' (perhaps not William's) knowledge. The ones at the park were incredibly close range and seemed to be taken with Kate's full knowledge. The ones at the beach - well, how are we to believe that a pap was just waiting at the beach randomly and spotted Carole with George? Or that a pap followed them from Anmer to the beach without an RPO spotting them at any point whatsoever along the way?

    It is well known that Kate made friends with the Paps while dating William and had them, particularly Tanna, on speed dial to take her picture to show William what he was missing. Anyone who disputes this has her head in the sand. This is a common and well known PR tactic the world over.

    This reminds me of the Christmas Day tennis photos that Kate welcomed and encouraged, if the Middletons didn't actually set it up themselves, and where it was fine until William had a fit about the pictures and Kate had to blame Tanna.

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    1. How did the paps know where to go?
      1)creative phone manipulation-GPS, hacking-it's been done
      2)insider information-I have a few ideas who it could be. I still think it possible that those candid photos of W&C in
      September 2012 were the result of a tip-off. The poor quality makes a PR set-up claim laughable.
      3)Again, Carole was definitely not posing or prepared to be photographed at park or beach
      4)Catherine and George at park-remember that cute little circle of children who apparently called out to George?
      Put him in perfect spot for photos. Saying Catherine KNEW she was being photographed is pure speculation
      at best. The park personnel removed some photos from their web site. If it was a PR effort planned by KP,
      the photos most likely would have stayed up.mf
      5)The day is soon coming when wild, untrue and unfavorable speculation on internet sites will be
      prosecuted. Can't wait. (it's called slander, or libel when in print)

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  19. How sad. These days terrorismus is the excuse for everyting, in particular how to get rid of the law or to enhance surveillance.
    There must be another way.
    If a PPO has trouble to determine the danger of a hidden photofrapher, I personally think this is a bad excuse. Or what is the other option: Shoot first, walk over, than ask questions?
    If there is not an immediate attack I would rather walk over and check the guy carefull out by approaching carefully. In the meantime the colleague could bringt the targets out of sight.
    Or do the HRH walk that carefull around that suddenly a man hidden is a surprise? I would not be that naive.

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  20. I don't support pap shots. I think it is low. I believe you should ask permission before taking the photo of someone under 18. If it is a spontaneous photo - then at least ask afterwards, before making money from it's publication. I like your blog. I think it is interesting. I support your official photographs and photos of the royals in public events. HOWEVER, there is a line. HRH Kate and WIlliam have every right to be concerned. I think it is up to us to stop supporting the photographs that invade their family privacy. They may be public figures, but we do not have the right to know about everything that happens in their lives.

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  21. I am quite shocked that so many seem to believe that because their father is wealthy, the Cambridge children are the property of anyone who wishes to stalk them.
    All members of the royal family are security risks and the adults accept this, but it should never be accepted,, either by the parents or the population at large, that young children are fair game.
    The fact that the Met Police put out the statement tells me that there is reason for concern.
    The suggestion that if only the Duke and Duchess would allow photos of the children, all would be well, does not hold water. This summer there have been numerous photos of the little ones attending family events, and it just appears to have increased the paparazzi interest.
    Like everyone else, I love pictures of two very delightful children, but not at the expense of their safety, or of preventing them from having fun with children from all walks of life..

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    1. I would say it's not because their father is wealthy at all, it's because their father is the future King of England. How many pictures do we see of William's wealthy friends and their kids? Hardly any. No one wants to see a security risk, and I don't think paps should be allowed to hide in boots to take pictures, but W & K attitude about pictures and appearances doesn't seem to fully grasp the position that they are in.

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    2. Actually, I think W&K grasp the situation quite well. After all, George is two years old...and not two months. They didn't just make this plea two months after bringing him home from the hospital. Over the last two years, we have seen many pap photos. The photos sell, the tactics have been escalated, and W&K have responded accordingly.

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  22. The letter from KP did not surprise me; but I'm frankly shocked at some of the comments here. It's as if William and Kate have no right as parents to issue a warning, to protect their child, to bring them outside, or to improve in the ways the royal family has handled the paparazzi in the past. To me the case is simple: it's a threat to security and an intrusion into privacy by habitual pursuit. This is a child. It's his parents choice and decision whether or not to share photos and it is their judgement to make on the gravity of intrusion and danger. We don't know the situation. They do. Don't belittle their sentiments just because you want to see cute pictures of George and Charlotte on a regular basis. Are you truly doing what's best for these children by ignoring their plea? No. Let us put ourselves in their shoes.

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  23. I agree with Jean perfectly. People should stop making excuses so they can see these children. The only ones with a right to them are their parents. It's sad that even when they have been quite generous in sharing pictures people still demand to see more and more and more, even at the expense of their safety and happiness. It is time to stop this.

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    1. Agreed. So much anger over a request by two parents who only want to protect their children.

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  24. Ugh! I popped in quickly just to see how this discussion has been progressing but am grading papers, so really can't join in. Its extremely interesting as a lot of well thought out points have been brought up. If its still going on tomorrow, I'll add my two cents. Maggie and Claudia, I agree with much of what you are saying, and Jane, I'll be interested in your final stance. You've always been a strong advocate of the the right to photograph in public spaces. This really is not a black and white issue. Tons of grey areas.

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  25. Jane, I love that you have ferreted out the problem...smart cookie. Thank you,

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  26. I am quite shocked at the tone of some of these posts I don't see how there can be any question that there is a threat here that W&K and the Met police take as credible enough to make this plea. How can we, as fans and followers, question their judgment? I thought we were here to support them. I know I am. I can question Kate's fashion choices, and discuss my hopes and fears for the future of the monarchy, but I would not presume for one moment to question their judgment about the safety and security of their children. In my opinion, we have no right whatsoever to do that.

    Jane, your analysis of this is spot on. You have chosen the right profession to pursue. You are going to make a great advocate. Thank you.

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    1. I'm shocked too, Jane, but not too surprised. It seems there are those who support W&K's concerns and those who just use these posts to disparage them in any way they can.

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    2. Jane/Canada & Jeanne/Vancouver....I wholeheartedly agree with your comments.

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    3. Many of us share your same confusion. It seems contrary to the purpose of this blog.

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    4. Expressing your shocking and suprise wont help in any way. But I understand why you write the same things many times, though.

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    5. I believe to disparage and to disagree are two completely different things.

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    6. If someone disagrees more often than agrees with opinions on a particular dedicated site and, over a reasonable length
      of time, has not changed his viewpoint or that of other commenters at all, I would question his continuing to post on the site.mk
      The only possible result is to cause dissension and ill-will. There are sites for that, too.
      Disagreement concerns ideas. Disparagement enters in when a person is the focus.One can discuss security
      versus privacy issues-disagree, but saying William has a "temper tantrum," etc. about privacy/security issues
      is disparagement. That's what I understood from Jeanne's comment.

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    7. In reference to Anon 9:44? Its an anonymous comment, so don't know how you know who it is or that they are repeatedly disagreeing. Just sounds like a different point of view/opinion to me. Besides, its a well known fact that Jane doesn't allow disparaging comments anyway. I'm always amazed that certain posters want to continuously censor comments that are not 100% praise and admiration for the Cambridges.

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  27. Julia from LeominsterAugust 16, 2015 at 3:33 PM

    Jane, I'm late here and another post has come but I do want to say thank you for expressing so well the concern I had - that the issue of pap shots of George and terrorism are two different things and the issues should not have been mixed in the manner they were. You said it so well, I will add no more to that.

    As far as paps go, I still support the idea that sanctioned photographs would do much to help - it has worked fairly well on ski holidays for the royals, it worked well at St.Andrews. For instance, if William and Kate would release sanctioned and natural shots of them with George at a playground - it would give them arguments to say to editors that buy the pap photos that there is no news value in unauthorised shots - it may not be a perfect solution - nothing is - but it's a reasonable and positive one. I'm getting a little uneasy at all the complaining William and Kate are doing - and while I see their point - would like to find a balance of positive and negative.

    As for the issue of present terrorism being more extreme than the past - I regret to say I must disagree and would think anyone who lived through London and the Troubles in the Seventies and Eighties would agree with me - it is easy to forget that danger and that it was not just royals or politicans who were targeted - there were always long queues when bags were searched and there was no certainty when in a shop or on the Tube that there wouldn't be a bomb.

    I mention this specific because of the old tired expression "Keep calm and carry on" and the fact that the royals have always epitomised that. There is nothing any of us can do about threats and a three-year-old boy with his family at the Roman Columseum might be just as likely to be attacked (it is one of the stated targets) as George - possibly more so.

    One reasons the royals have been so loved in the past is that they shared the danger calmly - the Queen mother didn't evacute her daughters to Canada at the time of the Blitz - - the Famous - the children won't leave without me, I won't leave without the king - the king will never leave...remark she made. I'm not suggesting that I want George to be in danger or for there to be undue risks- but it is worth remembering the symbolism that has made the royal family lasting and loved. For this reason, since all of us stand in some danger - I would like to see George protected as much as possible - but not have it talked about - especially in the context it was.

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    1. Julia, I thought the letter was an excellent "balance of positive and negative." Not much has been said about the first part of it which I thought was rather gracious given the reality it went on to address. It expressed W&K's gratitude, and went on to cite specific examples of what could be perceived as a threat given the realities of today. When has the Queen, or PC, issued a similar letter that included this level of reasoning behind a request? It was not a brief "do not do this or else" message; they tried to make people understand where they are coming from. Whether someone has children or not, I honestly do not understand some of the complete lack of empathy that has been expressed in response to the letter.

      And I do not see how the two issues (privacy and safety) are unrelated, as expressed in this letter. We live in a world where ISIS is a reality (something the Queen is aware of). Mass shootings happen in schools/malls/movie theaters/offices, etc. If, for example, parents decide to home school a child after such an incident in a school, who is anyone else to judge their reaction or motivation with the level of cynicism that has been directed at W&K? If I see a bag left behind in a public place, do I ignore it or consider that it may pose a threat? Aren't we, as a society, encouraged to take the more cautious path in response?

      Regarding the "keep calm and carry on" approach.... Publicly, the Queen Mother did convey this approach, yes, but she also reacted to the threat in London by packing her daughters (and nanny) off to Windsor Castle; Elizabeth and Margaret did not remain at BP where the threat was far greater. She and the king did what they thought was best for their daughters, as W&K are trying to do for George and Charlotte in 2015.

      Finally, you do recall the public's reaction to the Firm's response to Diana's death... Well, they were not praised for keeping calm and carrying on; that approach didn't go over very well, did it? People wanted them to show that they cared...that they were normal human beings with normal emotions. I do believe that William, with Kate at his side, is trying to move the Firm in this direction, as Diana did in her day. The driver's seat is not his yet, but he is trying...

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    2. Such a nice post Julia and it really made me sit for a moment and reflect. I'm a Brit by birth and American by marriage :) and it made me think of the terrible days after 9/11, the fear in NY of another attack. I remember telling friends that we had lived that tension and experienced similar feelings during the 70's, and I realized how many Americans (even friends normally savvy with world affairs) had no idea the extent of the violence and damage, or that lives were lost. (I explain the Troubles again now with the recent news on Adams and McGuinness)

      And I've used the Queen Mother quote to explain why she was so beloved, that as long as there are Brits who remember coming through the war, they will remember how she refused to leave. Thinking of that history and how my parents told the stories fills me with such pride again at how well the BRF conducted themselves as representatives of the country and how much goodwill they earned. I truly believe it was that goodwill that carried them through many decades.

      It was a time when they rose to every occasion and lifted the country with them. While Keep Calm and Carry On has become a bit of a gimmick, to those of us a certain age it is weighted with much more significance. I hope the younger royals understand the great examples of public service that have come before them.

      Thank you Julia.

      Claudia

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    3. Julia from LeominsterAugust 16, 2015 at 11:31 PM

      Royalfan, I think there is a distinction here between caring and courage. Carrying on doesn't mean not caring - nothing could have been more caring than the Queen Mum's visit to the blitzed East End. The response to Diana was the result of years of pent-up feelings that her work had been unappreciated by the royal family and there was a demand for a show of respect and caring - quite different from giving way to fears - in fact there were those - I don't agree - who thought the queen was cowardly - not coming sooner to London to support her subjects - and face not just their grief but their frustration and anger.

      Today people - including Julia - feel anger when hearing that soldiers are being told not to wear their uniforms or shirts advertising Help for Heroes in certain neighbourhoods. No one wants soldiers to be attacked - it is the last thing anyone wants - and yet this reponse somehow feels so wrong.

      It was said later that Charles claimed to have been in fear of assassination at the time of Diana's death. (I'm trying to rememberif this was reflected in The Queen.) He didn't get much sympathy. Derision might be a better word. What it really comes down to, is that most people want the royal family to be in touch with the nation - if the nation is having to get on with day-to-day life without dwelling on fears - the level of alarm in that letter seems rather overdone. (Which is separate from the issue of paps and toddler privacy.)

      Claudia, I remember that time in London so well - and no people in the States - or people not born then - really don't appreciate the tensions of that time - it is so easy to forget.

      I visited Manhattan right after 9-11, and often took that United flight from Newark to San Francisco. I knew but for the grace of fate, I could have been on that flight - I had been just a short time before. People asked if I wasn't scared to be in New York so soon after the attacks and I found it such an odd question. It was a horribly sad time to have to be there - and I don't think I'm a brave person at all - but you can't live your life fretting about when calamity might hit - or life would stop - whether you are a commoner - or royal.

      I absolutely want nothing to happen to George - and want him to have the best protection possible - but I would have preferred that the matter been dealt with more quietly - not put forward as a bid for public sympathy mingled in with the completely separate issue of how much privacy a child who is going to be a future king can expect in public places - and how this can best be handled.

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    4. With all due respect Julia and Claudia, neither the Queen Mother nor the Queen had their children stalked by photographers 24/7. Yes, there was WWII, and yes there were the Troubles. But this constant assault that has been going on basically since 1981 did not happen to them. Times are different and I'm sure W&K would love to be able to Keep Calm and Carry On in the manner their grandparents did. Unfortunately, there are individuals who are trying to make that as impossible as they can for the sake of a photograph and a large payment. Not quite an idealogical circumstance. And, nobody has said so yet but, do you think W&K released this statement without the Queen's blessing? I think they probably did not.

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  28. It seems to me that this discussion has run its course. There is the camp that will defend W&K's right to protect their children however they see fit, and the camp that sees them as spoiled, rich, servants to the public with no such cause or right to complain. I don't think the two sides will ever come to a mutual conclusion. I just wonder why those who criticize them so bother to follow a blog such as this. That confuses me.

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  29. I would like to point out to those people who are getting tired of the complaining that Kate and William are doing that the harrassments of papparazi is a fairly new phenomenon. It's mostly since the 80s that we've come to deal with these things as we started idolizing royals as much as we idolized film stars. William is a first generation child who grew up with having his picture taken wherever he went and it was his parents who were the first to deal with the invasion of privacy that came with that. Up till then photography was still a fairly slow medium and the royals kept to themselves more. Furthermore with the coming of modern media, society's attitude has become more of a 'right' to intrude in everyone else's lives and a blatant disregard for people's privacy. Kate 'knew what she was marrying into' but when you have a husband who knows first hand what it's like to grow up in the public eye and, heck, it is YOUR children these paps are after ..... I'm pretty sure all of us would become protective.

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  30. Here is an interesting article to suggest the letter from last week isn't clear as to what William and Kate want except that they appear not to want to be limited at all with their children in public.

    http://www.express.co.uk/comment/expresscomment/598988/Richard-Palmer-Huffington-Post-Royal-family-Duke-Duchess-of-Cambridge

    Katherine USA

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    1. I think both Jane's post and Richard Palmer's letter touch on a good point-- the letter from KP confounds the issue of terrorism and privacy, and that might not have been the best idea.

      From a stalking/security/terrorism standpoint, I am totally on W+K's side. The lengths that paps go to to get shots is disgusting and extreme, and of course George and Charlotte should be protected from this, as should any child, regardless if whose children they are. If my kids were playing at a park where there was a creepy car with the windows covered in blankets, you bet I would be calling the police.

      From a privacy standpoint, I get more conflicted. Obviously in their own homes and private locations, the Cambridges have an expectation to privacy and this should be granted. In public spaces, however... well, it gets more difficult. Like many other moms, I take my kids to the park or play area and I have a smart phone that I use to capture pictures of them. If I happened to be at a park where Kate and George showed up (or George and Maria, etc) does this mean I should have to put away my phone because I might snap a picture of George playing with my kids? I don't think so. Sometimes I might accidentally get another child in my photo, but it's because I am trying to capture a photo of MY kids. And the opposite probably happens as well. Smart phones are ubiquitous these days and I honestly don't think you can ask an entire population to put them away. Does it get annoying? I'm sure, but they also have PPOs. I would also argue that in places the Cambridges frequent, most people are not looking to turn a profit by selling these pictures, they are genuinely interested the Cambridges and George (and Charlotte, but she's not gamboling around quite yet). In fact, I feel like aside from the paps, there aren't that many candid snaps that show up of the Cambridges because people perhaps do have respect for them and probably just want a photo as proof to show friends/family (of course, I can't check every corner of the internet and yes, there are pics that end up in the tabloids-- but are those paps or random people?) so what exactly do W+K expect will happen? They are public figures and yes, it's bound to happen that people will recognize them and potentially try and snap a photo. I'm not saying it's right, but I don't think you can prevent it entirely.

      Even though George is only two, he is the future king of Great Britain, and this is the reality that he will grow up, no matter how much W+K try to shield him. They are certainly within their rights to do so as parents, but I think to a certain extent, they also need to realize that they are not going to have control over every situation, especially in a public setting like a London park. Hopefully this does make the public more cognizant of snapping photos of the Cambridges (especially George and Charlotte) in public places, given that they are children. I don't see smart phones going the way of the dodo anytime soon, so for wrong or right, this is something that they will need to come to terms with.

      TL:DR is paps are gross and shouldn't resort to extreme tactics and I am definitely ok boycoting their photos given the methods used to obtain them, but W+K can't expect the entire populace of Britain to put away their smart phones just because they want to take their child out in public.

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    2. Good letter in http://www.express.co.uk/comment/expresscomment/598988/Richard-Palmer-Huffington-Post-Royal-family-Duke-Duchess-of-Cambridge

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