The Duke of Sussex has acknowledged and welcomed the formal apology from Splash News and Picture Agency after they took photographs of his home in Oxfordshire from a helicopter on 9 January 2019. The property had been chosen by Prince Harry and his wife Meghan because of the high level of privacy it afforded. However, the helicopter flew at a low altitude allowing Splash to take photographs in the living area, dining area and a bedroom of the property.
The photographs were published by The Times newspaper and shared online by several media outlets. Prince Harry then engaged to solicitors to take steps to secure the removal of the photographs. The duke’s lawyers said the publication seriously undermined the safety of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to the extent that they are no longer able to live at the property.
Splash News has now agreed that it will cease and desist from selling, issuing or making available the photographs and it will not repeat its conduct. Splash News has agreed to a pay a substantial sum in damages and legal costs and has apologised to the Duke of Sussex. Splash News said it had “always recognised that this situation represents an error of judgement and we have taken steps to ensure it will not be repeated. We apologise to the Duke and Duchess for the distress we have caused.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex moved to Frogmore Cottage in Windsor shortly before the birth of their son Archie. Major refurbishments of the property had been taking place before the move, with the royal couple hoping to bring up their son in the picturesque county of Berkshire. Meghan and Harry had been given permission to live in the historic Frogmore Cottage by The Queen. Prior to the renovations, Frogmore Cottage itself was used by staff as offices.