Paparazzi agency will not target Meghan in future, high court hears | Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex

A paparazzi agency that took photos of the Duchess of Sussex and her young son Archie when out for a walk near their home “unlawfully invaded” their privacy and has agreed not to take photographs of the family in the future, a court heard on Friday.

Mr Justice Nicklin heard the statement in open court at a remote hearing on Friday in relation to a privacy and data protection claim by Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and her son with Prince Harry against Splash News and Picture Agency.

The agency is now in administration – but a statement read to the court said the parties had agreed to settle the claim over the photos, which were taken in a “remote rural setting” in a Canadian park. It continued: “The administrators of Splash UK have undertaken that, should the entity come out of administration, Splash UK will not take any photographs of the duke and duchess or their son in the future.”

A spokesperson for the couple’s law firm Schillings said that while the case had concluded another claim against a sister agency based in the US would continue.

The spokesperson said: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have successfully settled a legal claim brought at the beginning of this year against the paparazzi agency Splash UK.

“This settlement is a clear signal that unlawful, invasive, and intrusive paparazzi behaviour will not be tolerated, and that the couple takes these matters seriously – just as any family would.

“A simultaneous and similar claim against Splash US, a sister company to Splash UK, continues to move forward in the British court system.”

Meghan’s solicitor Jenny Afia told the court that “the taking of the photographs constituted an unlawful invasion of privacy”. She said the pictures were taken “on a private family outing in a remote rural setting and there was no public interest in the photographs”.

She noted that the day before the pictures were taken, a Splash photographer had undertaken “a full reconnaissance inspection of the Duke and Duchess’s private home, walking around it looking to identify entry and exit points and putting his camera over the fence to take photographs”.

A representative of the agency’s administrators, Neil Allen, said they accepted the statement’s contents.

At a hearing in September, the duchess’s barrister Jonathan Barnes said Meghan and her son had been “papped” by a photographer for the agency.

He said the agency had sold the images, taken on 20 January this year, which show the duchess walking with her son in a baby sling, and her two dogs, in Horth Hill regional park on Vancouver Island in Canada.

The case was brought by Meghan in her own right and by her and her husband, the Duke of Sussex, on behalf of Archie.

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