In 2007, rumours began spreading that Prince William might finally propose to his university sweetheart, Kate Middleton, on her 25th birthday on January 9. Portrait tea towels of the royal couple were already being printed and as Kate walked to her car to set off for her job that morning, around 30 paparazzi gathered outside her Chelsea flat, joined by mainstream TV crews. Photographers and journalists were desperate to get pictures or statements from Prince William’s girlfriend because they all thought that was going to be the announcement day.
Some lenses were reportedly thrust less than a foot from her face, and her car was blocked.
According to 2011 documentary “Chasing the Royals”, the frightening scenes angered Prince William.
The narrator said: “An angry Prince William issued a statement to the press, to stop harassing his girlfriend.
“Both he and Kate eventually moved to a remote corner of Wales.”
A spokesman for the Prince said at the time: “Prince William is very unhappy at the paparazzi harassment of his girlfriend.
“He wants more than anything for it to stop.
“Miss Middleton should, like any other private individual, be able to go about her everyday business without this kind of intrusion.
“The situation is proving unbearable for all those concerned.”
Although the photographers’ presence was unprecedented due to the fact that it was her birthday that day, Kate’s parents, Micheal and Carole, were also reportedly incredibly worried that her daughter was being regularly followed by up to half a dozen paparazzi on a daily basis.
In 2009, The Daily Telegraph reported that Queen Elizabeth II finally “authorised a crackdown on the paparazzi” amid intrusions into the private lives of the royal family.
The monarch and Prince Charles instructed Gerrard Tyrrell, a senior lawyer specialising in privacy and media law, to mastermind the privacy strategy.
Mr Tyrrell is known to have briefed senior royal aides on a series of options in the event of photographers continuing to take photographs of the royal family in “private” situations.
However, that was not the end of it.
In 2012, long lens pictures of Kate sunbathing on the terrace of a guest house were published in French magazine Closer.
The “intimate” photos were taken while William and Kate were on holiday in France but the royal couple reportedly did not know anything about the pictures until the magazine’s website showed its new front cover with a heavily pixelated image of a woman that it claimed was the Duchess, in a bikini, about to remove her top.
A couple of days later, the magazine emerged on the streets of Paris with topless pictures of Kate.
It was reported that the photos were offered to British papers, but they all turned them down.
Royal aides released an official statement: “Their Royal Highnesses have been hugely saddened to learn that a French publication and a photographer have invaded their privacy in such a grotesque and totally unjustifiable manner.
“The incident is reminiscent of the worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, and all the more upsetting to The Duke and Duchess for being so.
“Their Royal Highnesses had every expectation of privacy in the remote house.
“It is unthinkable that anyone should take such photographs, let alone publish them.
“Officials acting on behalf of Their Royal Highnesses are consulting with lawyers to consider what options may be available to The Duke and Duchess.”
In 2017, the court in Nanterre, west of Paris, awarded the couple €100,000 (£91,000) in damages and interest to be paid by the celebrity magazine Closer and two photographers.
After the verdict, royal aides said Kate and William had suffered an “unjustified intrusion” and were pleased the judge had found in their favour.
Source: EXPRESS CO UK