Prince George: paparazzi using 'extreme' tactics to snap royal baby
Kensington Palace warns that photographers' behaviour is becoming increasingly dangerous
Paparazzi photographers are harassing two-year-old Prince George with "increasingly dangerous" tactics, Kensington Palace has said. A Palace statement says "a line has been crossed", with snappers now going to "extreme lengths".
The statement appeals to editors around the world not to buy unauthorised photographs of the future king. According to the BBC, a small number of media organisations in Germany, France, Australia, New Zealand and the US have being doing just that.
The palace says that, while such pictures are "usually dressed up with fun, positive language about the cute, adorable" Prince, readers deserve to know they have been taken in "unacceptable circumstances".
The statement says photographers have:
- Used long lenses to shoot George and his mother in private parks
- Monitored the movements of George's nanny and other staff
- Photographed the children of friends of the Duke and Duchess
- Used other children to lead George into view in playground
- Been found hiding on private property
- Hidden in public sand dunes to photograph George and his grandmother
- Kept locations near the Middleton family home under constant watch
- Chased cars as they left family homes
The last of these accusations has perhaps the most resonance. Prince George's paternal grandmother Diana, Princess of Wales, was being pursued by paparazzi through Paris when a car crash ended her life in 1997.
The statement says it hopes to "inform the public discussion" of the unauthorised photograph of children.
It adds that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge want both their children "to be free to play in public and semi-public spaces with other children without being photographed".
Highgrove Gardens: Prince George's luxury playground
The Prince of Wales has pulled out all the stops in the grounds of his Gloucestershire home to turn the gardens of Highgrove House into a playtime paradise for Prince George.
Royal duties and foreign tours keep Prince Charles busy, and with over 500 engagements to attend a year it's understandable that he wants to make the most of his time with his grandchildren.
To this end, the Daily Telegraph says Prince Charles has had a treehouse, once used by his own sons, refurbished. Originally built in 1989 for Prince William's seventh birthday, the lofty hideaway is having its roof rethatched and the door replaced to welcome the new generation.
The Times reports that the gardens have been further enhanced for the two year-old royal's visits with an £18,000 wendy house equipped with its own stove and bed. The wheeled shepherd's hut was a gift from the manufacturer, Richard Lee, in recognition of the help he received from the Prince's Trust charity.
Prince Charles's plan to turn the grounds into a haven for his grandchildren appears to be working, with Prince George reportedly enjoying play tea parties in the grounds, as well as helping his grandfather plant trees – an inclination that's sure to please his horticulturalist grandfather.
Kate Middleton and Prince William have made no secret of their desire to give their children as normal an upbringing as possible, far away from the glare of media attention. The private play area reflects the difficulty of allowing Prince George to play in public, where the toddler is apparently dressed in casual clothes to reduce the risk of being spotted by paparazzi. In 2014, a legal warning was issued to a photographer caught following Prince George and his nanny during an outing to Battersea Park.
Prince George's outfit under attack – but is it a disguise?
Television presenter Janet Street-Porter has sparked outrage after describing Prince George a "cross-dressing millionaire" – but a new theory has emerged about the toddler's outfits.
As the young royal celebrated his second birthday at Anmer Hall yesterday, Street-Porter appeared on ITV's Loose Women and took aim at his "girl's blouse".
Her comments came as the rest of the show's panel admired the Prince's latest official picture, taken by fashion photographer Mario Testino at Princess Charlotte's christening. Street-Porter told them: "Don't go on. Quite frankly he looks like a cross-dressing millionaire. He does, he's a millionaire, and he's got a girl's blouse on."
Viewers took to Twitter to complain, pointing out that he was just a little boy and urging the presenter to cheer up. "As if Janet Street-Porter just called Prince George a cross-dressing millionaire. He's a baby boy. Off with her head!" wrote one.
But Street-Porter is not the only one to question Prince George's style. Peter Bradshaw at The Guardian says the red knickerbockers and white embroidered chemise combo "looked like something Pinocchio might angrily refuse to wear".
However, Tom Sykes at the Daily Beast suggests there is a meticulous strategy behind the "deeply anachronistic" look.
Why does Kate Middleton dress Prince George in long socks, shorts and blousy shirts? he asks. "The answer has less to do with Kate's personal style or an honouring of the royal tradition of dressing royal children as mini lords and ladies than it does with an inventive strategy by Kate for securing an element of private life for Prince George. Put simply, this is not how George dresses all the time."
Sources say that George's public appearance is "actually a disguise", to throw the general public and photographers "off the scent". When the family want to go out and about "off duty", George is apparently dressed like other toddlers.
"Kate went into the business of being a Royal with her eyes wide open and of her own volition," says Sykes. "George (and his little sister Charlotte) have made no such choice, and his public dress code is one of the ways Kate is trying to claw a few degrees of privacy back for her kids as she rears them."
Prince George turns two: how will he celebrate birthday?
Prince George turns two today, and his parents are determined to keep the birthday celebrations low-key in keeping with their efforts to give their children as normal a childhood as possible.
The future king's first birthday was marked with much royal fanfare, with the Queen as the guest of honour and a military band serenading the prince with Happy Birthday outside Kensington Palace.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the Cambridges are planning a far more "normal" party for their son and heir's second birthday. In fact, the plans sounds just like any other toddler's birthday, with a few friends and family invited to the family home for finger food and cake. Of course, in this case 'home' means Anmer Hall, the ten-bedroom country manor on the royal Sandringham Estate where the Cambridges spend most of their time.
So simple are the arrangements, it seems, that the Duchess of Cambridge has organised the day with minimal help from staff and her sister, self-styled party planner Pippa Middleton. Having parents who run a business selling children's party supplies must certainly have made the Duchess of Cambridge's preparations a little easier.
The Middletons will be in attendance to wish their grandson a happy birthday, but his other grandparents will be absent – Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall are on an official visit to the West Country, but plan to see George later in the week.
Prince William may also be otherwise engaged on his son's birthday, as his new job as an air ambulance pilot might call him away from home. Prince George is unlikely to be too upset to see his father flying off, according to a New Zealand news website, as the young royal is obsessed with helicopters and will be getting a helicopter birthday cake.
"George rarely misses a chance to wave off Harry or William if they're flying their helicopters," Jessica Hay, a friend of the Duchess, said. "He loves them and already says he's planning to be a pilot himself when he's a big boy."
Another official photograph of Prince George at his sister Princess Charlotte's christening has been released to mark his birthday. Four official pictures of the royals, taken by fashion photographer Mario Testino, were released earlier this month. A fifth, showing Prince George smiling in the arms of Prince William, was saved for this week.
"This photograph captures a very happy moment on what was a special day for the duke and duchess and their family," said a Kensington Palace spokeswoman.
"They are very pleased to share this picture as they celebrate Prince George's second birthday."
Prince William recently let slip that, while baby Charlotte is a "little joy of heaven", Prince George is "a little monkey".
According to Richard Kay at the Daily Mail, the toddler enjoys opening and slamming doors and has been known to empty the contents of at least one visitor's bag.
However, Kay points out that his father was described by Prince Charles as "whirlwind Will" when he was little and had a habit of "flushing shoes down the royal loo, pushing the palace panic buttons and threatening to behead his friends or lock them up in the Tower of London".