Hello, and Happy weekend to you all!
We have quite a lengthy post today covering two topics. Yesterday Kensington Palace issued a letter of appeal to publications purchasing paparazzi pictures of Prince George and to inform the public of the measures used by photographers to obtain these images. Below a look at the letter that was sent to the media and made available to the public from Royal Central's Twitter Feed:
|Kensington Palace / Royal Central Twitter Feed|
The letter - entirely different in language and style from the Palace formality we're used to - was penned by the Cambridges' new communications secretary, Jason Knauf. Mr Knauf began by expressing William and Kate's "gratitude to British media organisations for the policy of not publishing unauthorised photos of their children" and noted the couple are pleased to share photos of Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
'The Duke and Duchess are glad that leaders in the media industry share the view that every child, regardless of their future public role, deserves a safe, happy, and private childhood. They have been delighted to share official photographs of Prince George and Princess Charlotte in recent months to thank the public for the thousands of kind messages of support they have received. News photographers have had several recent opportunities to take photos of the family and these will be a regular occurrence as both children get older.'
Despite the increase in recent photo opportunities which included Prince George's balcony appearance at Trooping the Colour, "paparazzi photographers are going to increasingly extreme lengths to monitor and observe Prince George's movements". Describing one recent incident Mr Knauf wrote:
'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.'
The letter goes on to describe the settings of several such incidents in recent months.
'It is of course upsetting that such tactics – reminiscent as they are of past surveillance by groups intent on doing more than capturing images – are being deployed to profit from the image of a two-year old boy. 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.
This incident was not an isolated one. In recent months photographers have:
- on multiple occasions used long range lenses to capture images of the Duchess playing with Prince George in a number of private parks;
- monitored the movements of Prince George and his nanny around London parks and monitored the movements of other household staff;
- photographed the children of private individuals visiting the Duke and Duchess's home;• pursued cars leaving family homes;
- used other children to draw Prince George into view around playgrounds;
- been found hiding on private property in fields and woodland locations around the Duke and Duchess's home in Norfolk;
- obscured themselves in sand dunes on a rural beach to take photos of Prince George playing with his grandmother;
- placed locations near the Middleton family home in Berkshire under steady surveillance'
Acknowledging the paparazzi are always keen to capture images of the Royal family, the Palace feel George is being specifically targeted:
'Prince George is currently their number one target.'
A decision was made to discuss these incidents now as they are becoming "more frequent and tactics more alarming. A line has been crossed and any further escalation would represent a very real security risk". The letter expressed William and Kate's "concern" whilst appealing to other parents who would also object to strangers taking photos of their children without permission.
'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. They know that almost all parents love to share photos of their children and they themselves enjoy doing so.
But they know every parent would object to anyone – particularly strangers – taking photos of their children without their permission. Every parent would understand their deep unease at only learning they had been followed and watched days later when photographs emerged.'
'The Duke and Duchess are of course very fortunate to have private homes where photographers cannot capture images of their children. But they feel strongly that both Prince George and Princess Charlotte should not grow up exclusively behind palace gates and in walled gardens. They want both children to be free to play in public and semi-public spaces with other children without being photographed. In addition, the privacy of those other children and their families must also be preserved.'
The letter also appeals to the public.
'But we are aware that many people who read and enjoy the publications that fuel the market for unauthorised photos of children do not know about the unacceptable circumstances behind what are often lovely images. The use of these photos is usually dressed up with fun, positive language about the 'cute', 'adorable' photos and happy write ups about the family. We feel readers deserve to understand the tactics deployed to obtain these pictures.'
We have seen an incredible rise in demand for paparazzi photos of Prince George on outings with Nanny Maria or with Carole Middleton. We saw quite a bit of the prince over the summer - no doubt a strategy carefully chosen to deter paparazzi photos. It seems obvious from the letter this is an issue of deep concern for the Cambridges. Taking these photos is not illegal, so they feel they must appeal to the morality of media organisations and the general public.
|Mario Testino / Kensington Palace|
It is most certainly worth noting Jason Knauf did a splendid job in composing the content of the letter, appealing to readers from the perspective of William and Kate as parents, and not members of the Royal family. Unfortunately, therein lies the crux of the issue: this letter will no doubt appeal to many - I was personally quite struck reading a detailed description of a pap stalking out George. We see these photos with such frequency, depicting a happy Prince George playing, one forgets the efforts used to take them, however, I do not believe it will do anything to deter demand for these photographs.
Hearing terms such as "tactics", "increasingly dangerous", "security risk", "covertly" and "target" to describe increasing efforts to take photos of a two-year-old boy are worrisome - reminding many of the harassment the late Princess Diana endured at the hands of the media.
Prince George and Princess Charlotte will have to bear the burden of a watching media for the rest of their lives. What can be done to alleviate this? Several royal photographers have suggested regular photo calls, similar to those held by European royals, which would lessen the value of candid photos. The publication of photos of celebrities' and royal children is increasingly becoming a talking point. Obviously, nobody wants to see Prince George or any child harassed going about their daily activities; it would be a nightmare situation for any parent.
Why are we seeing this letter now? One wonders, has there been a serious security threat? Seeing the Met Police issue a statement made me consider the likelihood of this:
'At a time when the national security threat level from international terrorism is at 'severe’, all officers are at a heightened level of readiness. 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.'
It was interesting to note early reaction on social media particularly from Kensington Palace who thanked several Twitter users for their support (it is very much a rarity for the Palace to reply individually).
|Kensington Palace Twitter Feed|
From royal reporter Emily Nash:
|Emily Nash Twitter Feed|
Royal reporter Richard Palmer:
|Richard Palmer Twitter Feed|
What are your thoughts on the letter? Were you surprised to see such an open, informal letter penned by the Palace? Would you like to see laws enforcing a ban on the publication of photos of celebrities' and royal children? Do you think the letter will do anything to reduce demand for these photos? Should the royals expect to be photographed in public places such as parks?
You can view the letter in its entirety here. I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the subject!
For the second portion of our post, we're continuing to share looks you all suggested from our "Choose your Dream Look for Kate" post. August tends to be the quietest month on the royal calendar and it has been such a fun treat to see your stellar suggestions - you are a very stylish bunch!
H.E. - "I'd love to see her in more button downs. They work well with ponytails and long soft curls, her favorite hair styles and she can vary with colors and prints. She might layer with a cardigan or a blazer, depending the event's casual nature." Below we have separates from J Crew including the Stretch Perfect Shirt in Classic Stripe, the Stretch Perfect Shirt, the Cashmere Cardigan and the Ludlow Blazer. H.E. would team the pieces with Kate's much-loved J Brand 811 Mid-Rise Skinny Jeans. Stuart Weitzman Corkswoon Wedges in metallic and her Cartier Watch.
Marci - styled a look for the Duchess to wear to her sister Pippa Middleton's wedding (no, there's no announcement as of yet, but our stylists are preparing for all eventualities :)). Marci chose the Jenny Packham Lilya gown with the Guiseppe Zanotti "Cruel Summer" sandals and Kate's Catherine Zoraida Spread Your Wings Bracelet and Double Leaf Earrings. Marci noted the Papyrus tiara would work well with the look.
Siddhii - also chose a dress for Kate to wear to Pippa's wedding; the beautiful DVF Maio Lace Gown (reduced from $998 to $499 at present). For a day-wear dress Siddhii spotted the DVF Layla Chiffon Tunic Dress.
Sabrina - styled looks for Kate to wear to a gala. First up, it's the floor-sweeping blue J Mendel Halterneck Gown. Sabrina would pair it with a simple black clutch, strappy sandals and Kate's Links of London Bubble Stiletto Earrings. For the second look, we have the timeless Gucci Silk-Georgette Gown paired with Kate's Double Leaf Earrings.
Shoe Shopping Girl - shared her choices via Pinterest which included the very princessy Carolina Herrera Embroidered Tulle Gown accessorised with Kate's blue topaz Kiki McDonough earrings and her silver clutch and diamond bracelet.
Phyl - put her choice together on her blog. It comprises of a blue and white dress. Kate's Russell & Bromley Park Ave shoes, Asprey Button Pendant and Links of London Hope Egg Earrings.
|Shoe Shopping Girl/Phyl|
Lize - would love to see Kate wear the shoes Rebecca Hunt designed for her with a blue and white stripe top, Alexander McQueen carrot-leg cropped trousers and a Zara clutch,
Di in OZ - chose her dream look for Kate featuring the Beulah London Porcelain Backless Full-Length Evening Gown, the Jimmy Choo White Lace Almond Toe Match pumps, the Jimmy Choo Cayla Bag, and Kate's blue topaz Kiki hoop earrings.
|Lize/Di in Oz|
Joanne in CA - styled an evening look for the Duchess featuring the Dillard's Patra Matte Chiffon Beaded Gown, the $98 Nina 'Kerstin' Ankle Strap Sandals, the dazzling Andrea Fohrman Crystal Earrings with Diamonds and the Sondra Roberts Crystal Mesh Clutch.
Paola Magi - We have three chic runway looks beginning with suits from Giorgio Armani and Versace. We also have a floral gown from Giambattista Valli from his Paris Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2014 Collection. Paola would team it with Orecchini Chanel earrings.
|Joanne in CA/Paola Magi|
Claire Finet - our Parisian Kate fan selected an ensemble for a wedding: a dress from Etam worn with the Scarlett Crin hat by Mademoiselle Chapeaux and a pair of Pinelli pumps.
Katie - A beaded v neck gown from Jenny Packham's unforgettable SS15 Collection.
Gabriella, Malta - opted to style day-wear looks for the Duchess. Take a look at the Chunky Boucle Blazer, Pencil Skirt and Flowing Blouse by Espirit. Look two and three are also by Espirit apart from the blazer and top in look two which are by ZARA.
Maria from Germany - styled the Duchess for a wedding choosing a dress from one of her favourite British brands Beulah London. Below we see labels blue roses print Lily Dress, The look is completed with Kate's L.K. Bennett Harper Pumps, a Russell & Bromley Clutch and her blue Rachel Trevor Morgan hat.
Sonja from Bavaria - decided to put a casual look together for Kate. The $65 eShakti Fit-and-Flare Dress with a Bolero, Converse, Kate's Cartier Watch and a ponytail.
|Maria from Germany/Sonja from Bavaria|
Erika - Similar to many of our readers Erika would love to see Kate wear pants. She would style her in L.K. Bennett's Elodie Double Breasted Jacket and matching Tapered Trousers. For footwear it's the printed Florita Slingbacks and the Bella Suede Buckle Clutch. The look is completed with a ponytail Kate's Kiki Morganite earrings.
Paulyne - also turned to L.K. Bennett for her look choosing the brand's Lupin Jacket (reduced from £250 to £150 at present) and Fern Suede Pumps. The Reiss Era Trousers, Palm Ruffle Detail Top and a Jenny Packham clutch complete the stylish ensemble.
Audrey Mango - For a casual summertime look it's the Jigsaw Tinted Bloom blouse, the Linen Cassidy Flared Pants by The Limited, the Kate Spade Wedding Belles Love Owls Clutch, Royal Glass Earrings and Kate's Stuart Weitzman Corkswoon wedges. For a wedding; The L.K. Bennett Occa 50s Dress, the BCBGMaxAzria Emerson Jacket, Kate's navy Anya Hindmarch clutch, L.K. Bennett Art shoes and a Silk Bow Fascinator.
A gala look includes the Theia Cap Sleeve with Watercolour Long Skirt, Kate's diamond and emerald earrings and bracelet and her L.K. Bennett Agata sandals. And for a daytime engagement we have the Refined Suiting Blazer and Pants from Rebecca Taylor with the Equipment Sailboat Print Blouse.
Francis - "I am very happy with what Catherine chooses to wear so far. If she’d wear even more fair /ethical /organic /eco-friendly clothes than she currently does, I would appreciate. My suggestions reflect this.". Below we see the Sika X Asos Ballet Dress, the People Tree Fiona Flared Dress and the Sika X Strapless Full Prom Dress. For a vintage dress Francis liked the 1960s Maroon Day Dress.
Courtney from NC - put together a look appropriate for a black-tie event. The Claire Pettibone Eloquence Gown is a gold eyelash scalloped gown. It would be accessorised with Kate's diamond and emerald jewels (it's no surprise to see they are popular with our stylists) and the Jimmy Choo Addison pumps.
German Girl - "This look is a bit autumnal - perfect for Kate when she returns to her duties in September :)". The Ted Baker Cascading Dress in Floral Print, with a fiery red coat, tights. boots and the L.K. Bennett Raffia Clutch.
|Courtney from NC/German Girl|
Hope - compiled a casual outfit with the J Crew Shirt in Dash-Dot Ikat, True Religion Becca Bootcut Jeans and the Pikolinos Verona Buckle Boots - reduced from $230 to $125 at Nordstrom Rack.
Katie, Chicago - styled an alternative to Kate's sporting uniform choosing the Burberry Diamond Quilted Jacket with J Brand grey skinny jeans, casual tops and Leopard Print flats from J Crew.
Couch Potato - "So, this is my look for a daytime engagement. I would love to see Kate wear trousers for visits to her charities more often - she is so tall and can definitely wear them! I've paired them with a blouse with a nice flower print and pumps with a floral pattern and a pretty plum-coloured scarf." The look includes the Ted Baker Torchlit Floral Top, grey trouser from Banana Republic, Ted Baker Neevo pointy toe pumps and a silk scarf.
Maria from Germany - The gala look consists of Erdem's Lucetta Hibiya Orchid-Print Gown accessorised with a sapphire choker and a red clutch.
|Couch Potato/Maria from Germany|
Thank you for your wonderful looks! There's been so many submissions, we will share all remaining looks in a couple of days in our 'Part Three' post :)