The Royal Family Has Had Issues with the Paparazzi Since Long Before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Caroline Hallemann
·2 mins read
Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images

From Town & Country

The royals are well-aware of the power of a photograph. A new portrait of a royal baby can easily make the front pages of British papers, but so can an unfortunate candid or an intimate moment captured without permission by the paparazzi.

Harry and Meghan recently filed a lawsuit to “protect their young son’s right to privacy in their home.” It alleges that drones, helicopters, and telephoto lenses have been used to try and capture Archie's photo, and court documents describe the “relentless and quite frankly shocking efforts of the tabloid media to profit from serial intrusions on the privacy of a 14-month-old child in his own home.”

But the Sussexes are hardly the first royals in history to take issue with the paparazzi. A new PBS documentary called Lucy Worsley's Royal Photo Album documents the royals' relationship with photography for better and for worse. As its name suggests, the film is hosted by Lucy Worsley, a royal historian, TV host, author, and the chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces (a charity which takes care of Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace and other historic places). The program examines some of the earliest photos of the British monarchy, and it chronicles how photographs can influence the public's perception of the royal family. But it also details their struggles with the paparazzi: a modern problem with deep historic roots.

In the exclusive sneak peek above, Worsely details how King Edward VIII was hounded by photographers pursuing a shot of him with Wallis Simpson. Eventually, she implies that a photo of them together influenced his decision to abdicate the throne.

Watch the clip of the documentary up top. Lucy Worsley's Royal Photo Album premieres on PBS Sunday, August 16 at 8 p.m. ET (check local listings).

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