Photographs of Prince George that were taken without permission as he sat on a police motorbike in the grounds of Kensington Palace breached his privacy, a press complaints watchdog has ruled. The images, of George, mum Kate Middleton and four police officers, taken through railings at the palace, were published on The Express and OK! magazine's websites on 25 May (2016).
The company which owns both of the publications, Northern & Shell, said the image showed police officers who were on duty and that "it was important for the public to see how young members of the Royal Family interacted with public servants, particularly when the officers had been 'commandeered for a three-year-old's entertainment."
The photographer involved told the watchdog he had been on his way to the gym when he saw armed police and a large crowd gathered near the Palace.
When the family arrived by helicopter he used a long lens to take pictures from a distance, according to the Press Gazette. The images were in the public interest, it was claimed, as Prince George was an heir to the throne and consequently of great public interest.
However, according to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) the photographs "simply showed Prince George playing on a police motorbike". The Ipso ruling continued: "They were photographed standing within the grounds of their private home, in a position that was not easily visible to the photographer; they were not carrying out any official duties, and they were unaware they were being photographed."
The complaint was upheld. OK! and the Express were both ordered to carry the 430-word Ipso adjudication.
William and Kate have often released authorised images of Prince George and sister Charlotte to mark special occasions. However the couple acted quickly following Charlotte's birth to warn the media about harassment. Norfolk Police handed out letters warning the media not to intrude after a number of incidents in the grounds of Sandringham Estate.