Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex newly ensconced in a Beverly Hills gated community, have struck out against Los Angeles’ paparazzi with a lawsuit over harassment at home.
The complaint filed Thursday in L.A. County Superior Court alleges unnamed individuals photographed their 14-month-old son Archie in their backyard as they hunkered down during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The invasion of privacy lawsuit leans on California’s law to rein in paparazzi, which made photographing or filming anyone in their homes by use of drone or telephoto lens illegal. Because the couple doesn’t know who took the shots, the suit targets unnamed defendants as a way to allow them to pursue, through subpoenas, anyone peddling the photos.
“Every individual and family member in California is guaranteed by law the right to privacy in their home,” said Michael J. Kump, the couple’s attorney and partner at Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP. “No drones, helicopters or telephoto lenses can take away that right. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are filing this lawsuit to protect their young son’s right to privacy in their home without intrusion by photographers, and to uncover and stop those who seek to profit from these illegal actions.”
The suit describes a life besieged by drones and photographers tracking the pair from country to country and now trained on their new home, with helicopters flying overhead and photographers cutting holes in their security fences.
The royal couple said in their complaint they are not looking for any special treatment, and expect they will be trailed by media when out in public, but draw the line on incursions into their home life.
The suit, while unconnected to any other litigation, comes as Meghan Markle is suing a U.K. newspaper for publishing a letter she wrote to her father.
“The family has tried to ignore these physical and constructive trespasses as best they can. … But the plaintiffs recently learned that certain paparazzi and their enablers have crossed a red line for any parent,” Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, said in their suit. “The plaintiffs will not allow the tabloids to break the law, especially when it involves intimidation, harassment and the addition of a very real security threat on top of what already exists.”
The couple’s every move has been scrutinized since their highly public departure from British royal life as senior members of the family.
Harry and Meghan have dropped previous plans for a foundation called Sussex Royal and instead are already working on initiatives for a new charitable venture they have named Archewell.