Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have filed a new lawsuit, this time to protect their one-year-old son Archie Harrison. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are suing “unnamed parties” who they say took “illegal” photographs of their son at their private home in Los Angeles. The couple’s attorney Michael Kump filed a complaint for invasion of privacy on Thursday, July 23. “This action arises out of the relentless and quite frankly shocking efforts of the tabloid media to profit from serial intrusions on the privacy of a 14-month-old child in his own home, and the desire and responsibility of any parent to do what is necessary to protect their children from this manufactured feeding frenzy,” Kump stated in the court documents obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
The attorney noted that Meghan and Harry want to continue their “public impact work” that is important to them, while also having a “private life to which any young family or individual has the right.” The Duke and Duchess allege that paparazzi and media outlets have flown drones “a mere 20 feet above” their house “as often as three times a day” to obtain photos of them and Archie in their private residence. “Others have flown helicopters above the backyard of the residence, as early as 5:30 a.m. and as late as 7:00 p.m., waking neighbors and their son, day after day. And still others have even cut holes in the security fence itself to peer ~ through it,” the complaint reads.
Although the Sussexes have “tried to ignore these physical and constructive trespasses as best they can,” the images of Archie “crossed a red line” for the Duke and Duchess.” Per the complaint, someone is shopping photographs of Archie “falsely claiming to have taken them on a recent public outing in Malibu.” However, according to the court documents, “Archie has not been in public, let alone in Malibu” since the Sussexes moved to California and it’s “clear from a description of the photographs” that the images were taken in the family’s backyard “unbeknownst” to Meghan and Harry.
“The unscrupulous people shopping these photographs have not innocently mislabeled the photographs as having been taken in a public place. They have done so intentionally, because they know that unsolicited photographs of a young child in the privacy of his own home are very much unlawful,” Kump wrote in the complaint. “For example, section 1708.8 of the California Civil Code confirms that it is illegal to take photographs of individuals in their private homes and other private places using devices such as drones and telephoto lenses.”
The lawyer stressed that it is Meghan and Harry’s choice “when and how they share photos” of Archie. Although the couple does not know who took the photographs of their son, they are seeking the “right to take discovery to uncover the identity” of the photographer and those who are seeking to profit by selling them. Michael stated that the Duke and Duchess have “done everything in their power to stay out of the limelight except in connection with their work.” While the couple acknowledges that their work is “newsworthy,” the images of their son “are not news” or “public interest.” The complaint described the photos as “harassment,” adding that “the sole point to taking and/or selling such invasive photos is to profit from a child. Such sales, in turn, stoke the paparazzi market and lead to ever more harassment. The fact that the images at issue remain in the possession of an unknown adult, having already been shown and shared to hundreds if not thousands of potential buyers, is disgusting and wrong.”
Meghan and Harry stepped away from royal duties earlier this year in order “to live a more independent life as a family.” The last time the Duke and Duchess gave royal fans a look at their son was in May to mark Archie’s first birthday. At the time, the pair shared a video of the former Suits actress reading to her son as part of Save The Children UK’s “Save the Stories” campaign.