LIFE

Prince Harry And Meghan Markle Were Forced To Flee Their Home Due To Photographers In Helicopter

by Kim Wong-Shing
Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

Prince Harry just won “substantial damages” from a picture agency that used a helicopter to take photos of his and Meghan Markle’s home.

Splash News is a major agency that publishes paparazzi photos of celebrities, among other images. In January, the company chartered a helicopter to fly low over Meghan and Harry’s house and take photos, CNN reports. The paparazzi photographed the living room, the dining room, and “directly into the bedroom,” according to a statement from Buckingham Palace. The images later showed up in the press in the UK.

Because of this extreme paparazzi situation, Meghan and Harry had to move out of their house.

“The syndication and publication of the photographs very seriously undermined the safety and security of the Duke and the home to the extent that they are no longer able to live at the property,” the palace’s statement said.

Splash News apologized to the couple for the intrusion, and the company also paid damages to the duke.

Splash News is a popular picture agency that publishes many photos of famous people, including the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Some of these photos are paparazzi-style, and they capture Prince Harry and Meghan Markle walking out and about in public.

But on one occasion, Splash News crossed a serious line by taking photos of the inside of the couple’s private home.

The agency chartered a helicopter to take photos of the couple’s country home in the Cotswolds region of England.

At the time, Meghan and Harry’s official residence was at Kensington Palace. But they often spent time at the Cotswolds — because of its privacy, ironically enough.

The helicopter photos taken by Splash News seriously undermined that privacy, along with the safety and security of Harry and Meghan, according to a statement from Buckingham Palace.

The photos were published in outlets in the UK, including The Times newspaper.

“The syndication and publication of the photographs very seriously undermined the safety and security of the Duke and the home to the extent that they are no longer able to live at the property,” the palace’s statement said.

The photos weren’t just of the outside of the house, but also looking INTO the home.

“The helicopter flew over the home at a low altitude allowing Splash to take photographs of and into the living area and dining area of the home and directly into the bedroom,” the statement said.

Can you imagine how terrifying that must have been?!

After the incident, Meghan and Harry no longer felt safe in the home. They were forced to move out.

In April, the duke and duchess moved from Kensington Palace to Frogmore Cottage in Windsor. They are now raising their son Archie there.

Prince Harry sued Splash News for damages.

Months later, the case has finally settled.

Splash News formally apologized to the couple in a statement.

Splash said that it has “always recognized that this situation represents an error of judgment and we have taken steps to ensure it will not be repeated. We apologize to the Duke and Duchess for the distress we have caused.”

Prince Harry acknowledged the apology in the palace’s statement:

“The Duke of Sussex acknowledges and welcomes the formal apology from Splash News and Picture Agency.”

Splash News must also pay the duke “substantial damages” and legal costs.

The agency will “not repeat its conduct by using any aerial means to take photographs or film footage of the duke’s private home, which would infringe privacy or data rights or otherwise be unlawful activity,” says Gerrard Tyrrell, who read a statement in court on the duke’s behalf.

This isn’t the first time that Splash News has been sued for taking intrusive photos. In 2014, an image agency under Splash’s name released photos of Adele‘s 2-year-old son. The singer sued and won a five-figure settlement, per the BBC.

Considering how much of a negative impact the paparazzi have had on Prince Harry’s life since he was a child, it’s not surprising that he feels compelled to take a stand against this behavior! Hopefully it prevents an incident like this from happening again.