The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been accused of taking a private photographer into Buckingham Palace without permission during their farewell tour in Britain, after a behind-the-scenes image was broadcast to millions in their new Netflix trailer.
The one-minute-long advert for the Duke and Duchess’s new documentary shows a series of black-and-white photographs, taken at Frogmore Cottage, their wedding evening reception, and on holidays.
One picture appears to have been taken inside Buckingham Palace, showing them walking out of the garden entrance.
By convention, anyone wishing to film or shoot in the Queen’s home required permission, with “strict protocol” surrounding imagery in what is considered private quarters.
The Telegraph understands that the presence of the photographer was the subject of a written palace complaint at the time, as aides noted that the couple had not asked permission to shoot inside the Queen’s home.
The Sussexes are not thought to have been made personally aware of the warning.
‘Usually a memo would be sent to the Queen’
“It’s fair to say there was surprise to see there was a photographer,” said one source, adding: “In usual circumstances, you need permission to take pictures in that area.”
A second said: “There is very strict protocol about bringing a film crew or photographer. Usually a memo would be sent to the Queen to get approval.”
The photographer was not asked to leave, The Telegraph has confirmed.
One insider said the appearance of a private photographer had been noticed by household staff at the time, as the Sussexes came and went from the palace.
They had travelled to Britain in March 2020 for what became known as their “farewell tour”, including a string of public engagements from a secondary school to the Commonwealth Day Service.
While here, they were followed by photographer Chris Allerton, whose work shooting the Duchess during a private visit to the National Theatre and at an emotional farewell to staff at Buckingham Palace was released and published soon afterwards.
At least one picture taken in the same week, but never-before-seen, and not yet credited to a named photographer, has now been broadcast as part of the Netflix trailer.
In it, Prince Harry and Meghan walk hand-in-hand towards an exit of Buckingham Palace, where two footmen hold the doors open for them.
The Duchess is wearing a winter coat and distinctive heels, carrying a small handbag that appears identical to an outfit she wore to a Goring Hotel farewell lunch for staff that week.
One source described the presence of an unauthorised photographer as a “genuine violation” of the Queen’s household, saying he was spotted by so many that news “wouldn’t have taken long for it to go round the building”.
There could be more images to come
They predicted that there could be more images to come in the documentary or printed elsewhere, with the Sussexes also holding events in the the Belgian Suite and 1844 Room, and the offices of staff.
Neither Buckingham Palace or Archewell responded to a request for comment on Friday night.
The picture was one of at least a dozen behind-the-scenes shots to be aired in the Netflix trailer.
Others include images of Prince Harry and Meghan kissing in their Frogmore Cottage kitchen during the same week, and what appeared to be the Duchess crying during a phone call with her head in her hand.
“It is certainly stretching the definition of privacy,” said one critic after the trailer was released.
“For a couple who have been privacy-obsessed, in 60 seconds they have shown raw emotion, private places, photos never before seen.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s lawyer has previously insisted that their challenge of “unlawful violations of privacy” is different from sharing their lives on their own terms.
“[It] doesn’t mean, just because you assert your human rights, that you then become some kind of Trappist monk and take a vow of silence, you’re not allowed to discuss anything,” Jenny Afia said in 2021.
“That’s not how privacy works. Privacy is about the right to own and control what personal information you choose to share with somebody.”