- Prince Harry has won a lawsuit against Splash News, a paparazzi agency which took and released intimate photos of the Cotswolds home he shared with Meghan Markle.
- A statement from Prince Harry’s lawyers on Thursday said the images were so intrusive the couple felt forced to move out.
- The agency used a helicopter on January 9 to take photos and videos of the couple’s home, capturing footage of their living room, dining room, and even their bedroom.
- Splash News agreed “to pay a substantial sum in damages and legal costs,” and has also issued an apology to the Duke.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
The Duke of Sussex has won a lawsuit against a paparazzi agency which has apologized and agreed to pay “a substantial sum” in damages after it released intimate photos of the Oxfordshire home Prince Harry lived in with Meghan Markle to the media.
Splash News photos and footage of the couple’s former Cotswolds home – including their living room, dining area, and bedroom – were taken by helicopter on January 9 and immediately sold to several news outlets, including The Times.
A representative for Prince Harry appeared in court on Thursday, where an open statement released by Prince Harry’s lawyers said the images were so intrusive that Prince Harry and Markle felt forced to move out of their Cotswolds property, which they had moved into in May 2018 ahead of their wedding, according to Country Living.
“The property had been chosen by The Duke for himself and his wife given the high level of privacy it afforded given its position in a secluded area surrounded by private farmland away from any areas to which photographers have access,” the statement from Harbottle & Lewis reads.
“The helicopter flew over the home at a low altitude allowing Splash to take photographs of and into the living area and dining area of the home and directly into the bedroom.
“The syndication and publication of the photographs very seriously undermined the safety and security of the Duke and the home to the extent that they are no longer to live at the property.”
The statement says that Harbottle & Lewis wrote to Splash as soon as Prince Harry was made aware of the publication of the photographs, which appeared in the national media on January 11.
The lawyers were successful in proving misuse of private information, breaches of Prince Harry’s right to privacy, and breaches of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA), according to the statement.
“Splash has now agreed to provide undertakings that it will, first, cease and desist from selling, issuing, publishing or making available the photographs or any photographs which are the same or colourably similar, and, second, that it will not repeat its conduct by using any aerial means to take photographs or film footage of the Duke’s private home which would infringe privacy or data rights or otherwise be unlawful activity,” the statement said.
“Splash has agreed to pay a substantial sum in damages and legal costs, and has apologized to The Duke.”
A spokesperson for Splash News told INSIDER: “Splash has always recognized that this situation represents an error of judgment 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.”
Buckingham Palace also released a statement on behalf of the prince.
“The Duke of Sussex acknowledges and welcomes the formal apology from Splash News and Picture Agency as referenced in the Statement in Open Court today,” it said.
It’s understood that the couple were originally planning to remain in the house until they could move into their current home of Frogmore Cottage in Windsor. Prince Harry and Markle moved to Frogmore Cottage in April ahead of the birth of their son.