A complaint made by Princess Beatrice has been upheld by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) after the press watchdog decided publishing pictures of the royal in a bikini was an invasion of privacy.
The pictures appeared in an article in June which the Princess said were taken using a long lens camera. As a long lens was used to take the photos, Beatrice says this breaches her right to privacy as she was not in the public eye.
Furthermore, Princess Beatrice was distressed by comments in the article which “made explicit or abusive reference to her appearance”.
The Daily Mail argued that the article was not intrusive and that in fact the photos were taken with a 600mm lens when the boat was only 200m away from the shore. They say that Beatrice could be seen by the naked eye.
Whether or not this is the case cannot be proven, however, IPSO upheld Beatrice’s complaint agreeing that the newspaper breached her privacy.
Following the outcome of the complaint, the newspaper has offered to remove photographs on the website, but refuses to publish an apology.
According to IPSO: “The photographs did not show the complainant engaged in any official duties.
“The series of images showed her undressing, preparing to swim, jumping into the sea, swimming, showering, drying herself with a towel, socialising with friends, and applying sun tan lotion to her partner’s shoulders while dressed in a bikini. These were activities which formed part of her private life, and the effect of publication of a large number of images was to show in considerable detail the activities in which she was engaged.
“It was accepted, by the publication, that the boat had been anchored around 200m from the shoreline, and that it had been necessary to use a long lens in order to photograph the complainant.
“The fact that the photographs had been taken with professional equipment but yet were of low quality, and had been cropped prior to submission by the agency, indicated that they had been taken from a considerable distance.
“The committee was not therefore satisfied that the complainant had been identifiable to those on the shore, notwithstanding the fact that it was possible to see the yacht itself with the naked eye, and that there was another boat in the vicinity. The complainant had not been aware that the photographs were being taken.
“The taking and publishing of these photographs of the complainant, wearing a bikini, which the committee noted placed a gratuitous and invasive focus on parts of the complainant’s body which would not ordinarily be subject to public scrutiny, represented a serious intrusion into her privacy.
“As the code makes clear, photographing an individual in such circumstances is unacceptable unless it can be justified in the public interest. The publication had not argued that there was a public interest in the publication of the photographs.
“Rather, it argued that there had been no intrusion, as the complainant had been photographed wearing a bikini in the past and had not complained. The complainant was entitled to be concerned about details of her private life being exposed to scrutiny without her knowledge or consent, and the fact that photographs had previously been published showing her engaged in similar activities did not alter her right to privacy in these specific circumstances.”
This is not the first time British tabloids have been subject to investigation by IPSO over their coverage of the royals, and it certainly won’t be the last.
At the beginning of this year, The Sun falsely claimed that The Queen was in favour of the U.K leaving the European Union. IPSO said that this headline was misleading the public.
More recently, Kensington Palace have had to take action following the continuous harassment of Prince Harry’s girlfriend, Meghan Markle.
In a strongly worded statement released by the Palace, they called out racist and sexist harassment Miss Markle has been subjected to, along with her family.