January 22, 2020

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s lawyers have sent a stern letter to British news outlets warning that “action will be taken” if they purchase or publish any paparazzi photos taken under conditions that constitute “harassment.”

The letter, which was shared with TIME by the royal couple’s law firm Schillings, was sent after photos of Meghan walking with her son and dogs in Canada surfaced in the British press. The paparazzi photographers responsible for the shots had reportedly been hiding in bushes along Markle’s path, and had also camped outside the couple’s Canadian home. Photographers have also, the letter claims, been taking photos of the couple without their knowledge or consent, often using long range lenses and zoom devices.

In an incident last year, a photographer attempted to use drones to take photos of Prince Harry and Markle’s Frogmore Cottage residence during renovations.

“There are serious safety concerns about how the paparazzi are driving and the risk to life they pose,” the letter alleges, describing both Prince Harry and Markle as “alarmed” by the behavior, and noting that the situation is “untenable.” The letter says legal notices have been filed and adds that additional legal action will be considered.

The letter marks the latest stand the royal couple has taken against the British tabloids, whose treatment of Markle in particular has become a hot button issue in the United Kingdom. Markle sued the British tabloid Mail on Sunday in October for printing personal letters she wrote to her father, and for, she claimed, selectively removing paragraphs of one letter where she expressed concern for her his wellbeing. Prince Harry has embarked on his own legal battle against the owners of The Sun and The Daily Mirror, who he claims hacked his voicemail messages.

Friction with the press is believe to have been a reason for the couple’s decision to split from the royal family, which they announced in an Instagram post earlier this month. Somewhat ironically, the decision has only spurred further sensationalized coverage.

 

Last October, Prince Harry released a public statement about the tabloids, emphasizing the “human cost to this relentless propaganda.” His mother, Princess Diana, was killed in a car accident in 1997 while trying to escape photographers in Paris. On several instances, Prince Harry has expressed fear that the paparazzi, and the British tabloid industry, could also place his wife under untenable amounts of pressure.

“I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditized to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces,” he wrote. He expressed the same sentiment in a documentary that aired last year.

“I will not be bullied into playing a game that killed my mom,” he said.

 

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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