british-prince-william-kate-middleton-20090510_zaf_n86_014Over the Christmas break, photos emerged of Kate Middleton playing tennis with her family. Did you see the images when they were posted elsewhere online? I did, and remembered the paparazzi ban that Queen Elizabeth issued in November (The British royal family will take legal action against photographers taking photos of the family in “private” situations).

When I saw Kate’s tennis photos, I wondered how the ban would play in her situation. While she and Prince William have been together for years, she is not officially part of the royal family, not until they get engaged, anyway. But with the current reports saying that Kate’s family lawyers are suing the photographer, it appears that the Queen’s ban might also cover Kate, though informally.

Buckingham Palace’s reaction to the recent reports is to say that this is a “private complaint”, and to make it clear that it is not the royal family filing the suit in this case. Which is true. Kate’s family is the one taking action. But their lawyers, Harbottle & Lewis, are also the ones who represent the Queen.

The suit, then, has many interesting possible angles.

For one, the photos were taken at the Restormel Manor, a part of the Duchy of Cornwall. The Middletons were staying there at the time, and it’s not clear whether they were guests of Prince Charles or not. Now, does the suit have legs because of the location, which is a private property of a member of the royal family, though no royal was in the photos (Prince William wasn’t there)?

Or is it because the taking of the photos may be considered harassment of a private family, regardless of the Queen’s ban? Or does it point to a more proactive and deliberate approach taken by the British royals, with a view toward protecting the future bride of Prince William (and Prince Harry, for that matter)?

Too many questions? Well, just consider this then, do you think Prince William was involved/consulted in this decision by the Middletons to sue the photographer?

image via Zuma Press