The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge recently condemned the British paparazzi amid concerns that their two children are constantly being subjected to ongoing harassment by photographers.
In a statement released Friday on behalf of Prince William and Kate Middleton, Kensington Palace Communications Secretary Jason Knauf said "a line has been crossed" while issuing a stern warning against the "increasingly extreme lengths" photographers go to get photos of 2-year-old Prince George and 3-month-old Princess Charlotte.
In one example of the alarming tactics employed by the paparazzi, Knauf said one photographer was caught by police just last week in the trunk of a rented vehicle that was parked outside of a children's playground where he has been snapping pictures of the royal heir, who is third in line to the throne.
"A photographer rented a car and parked in a discreet location outside a children's play area," Knauf noted. "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."
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Other alarming incidents in recent months have included photographers following George and his nanny around local parks, using other children to lure the prince into clear view of photographers at both public and private parks, and allegedly harassing guests of the royals as they leave family homes. Some have even been accused of hiding in "sand dunes on a rural beach" where Middleton's mother, Carole, was bonding with George.
"All of this has left the Duke and Duchess concerned about their ability to provide a childhood for Prince George and Princess Charlotte that is free from harassment and surveillance," wrote Knauf.
He added that extreme tactics such as that of the photographer who was caught in a car trunk is reminiscent "of past surveillance by groups intent on doing more than capturing images," which ultimately could present "a very real security risk" as royal security teams are not always able to distinguish paparazzi from terrorists.
The late Princess Diana of Whales was infamously killed during a car crash while being chased by paparazzi in Paris on Aug. 31, 1997, and William has subsequently been vocal about the need for tighter regulations in the media over the years.
Despite their growing safety concerns, and William and Kate applauded the British media for not publishing photos of their children that they themselves haven't authorized.
"The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have expressed their gratitude to British media organizations for their policy of not publishing unauthorized photos of their children," the statement read. "This stance, guided not just by their wishes as parents, but by the standards and codes of the industry as it relates to all children, is to be applauded."
Knauf went on to acknowledge that while British press has been cooperative, there is still a "handful of international media outlets still willing to pay for said images.
"Rest assured that we continue to take legal steps to manage these incidents as they occur," he wrote. "But we are aware that many people who read and enjoy the publications that fuel the market for unauthorized photos of children do not know about the unacceptable circumstances behind what are often lovely images."
"We hope a public discussion of these issues will help all publishers of unauthorized photos of children to understand the power they hold to starve this disturbing activity of funding."