Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Can British Royalty Honestly Expect Privacy Abroad?

Prince William and Kate stroll beach on the island of Mustique
*taken from Chi magazine 
Courtesy: Chi  
An Italian magazine has printed a flattering picture of the royal couple, shown here. And as usual, the Royal Palace isn't allowing the British people to see them as all the rest of the free world can.

With all due respect, it's unethical. Most couples aren't photographed and hounded in this way, it's true. And the Royal couple assumed they were walking on a beach in privacy, and that their privacy would be respected. It turns out, however, that their assumptions were mistaken. The private became public.

But that was the royal couple's mistake, and probably no one else's. It was a risk they took to walk outside. Why exactly did the Royal couple assume their photographs wouldn't be taken? What in their past made them assume, with some exclusionary royal prerogative, that they wouldn't be photographed? Why should they assume that they can buy their way out of being photographed anywhere in the free world? Most of the world evidently has a press freer than the British press.

The couple seems to be making a legal issue about expectations of privacy, and they sound rather churlish and whiny. The public has the opposite concerns. The Royal couple are undoubtedly public figures, regarded by some Americans as tabloid figures, and are expected by the public to behave as such in public locations, and at all times.

This mischievous behavior isn't something the Queen of England has ever done. One would think she should be more disappointed with her son's wife than with the press recording an event. But pregnancy doesn't last long, and the beautiful Princess didn't learn her lesson in France last summer on the topic of "assumption of privacy." If she's going to be out and about in public, she's likely to be photographed, she evidently might be even where she assumes it's private.

The press is certainly making the issue balloon larger, but it's good for publicity in the business of entertainment. The names of the magazines involved in these photos, for example, were previously unknown to me, and probably most Americans.

Commenters online have looked at the photos and asked why the Royal couple are in full emergency alarm mode about these photos. This is a flattering photo and at least the princess was wearing a bikini (unlike last August).

So I would issue free advice to the Royal couple. They should assume their photos will be taken unless they are within the perimeters of the Royal walls of their castles, or in more remote areas with better security. And they should definitely take the consequences if they walk around in public in a foreign country dressed like this and they should stop threatening legal action. That's just plain impolite. (And by the way, I need more photos for this blog. I'm dressed for work, although it's so cold I could be wearing pyjamas writing this post. Maybe I wouldn't mind vacationing wherever they are now.)

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