LOS ANGELES (CN) — A photo of 14-month-old Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, son of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, is being shopped around to tabloids according to a complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Thursday by the royal couple.
“The plaintiffs have done everything in their power to stay out of the limelight except in connection with their work, which they freely admit is newsworthy. But the photos at issue are not news. They are not in the public interest. They are harassment,” the couple says in their complaint.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex moved to LA County earlier this year after announcing they were stepping away from the royal family. Archie is the seventh in the line of succession to the British throne.
According to the parents’ 10-page complaint, an unnamed paparazzo is shopping around a photo of Archie the photographer says was taken during an outing in Malibu.
“But Archie has not been in public, let alone in Malibu, since the family arrived here,” the couple says in their complaint.
The family even resorted to building a large mesh fence to deter photographers with telephoto lenses.
“Some paparazzi and media outlets have flown drones a mere 20 feet above the house, as often as three times a day, to obtain photographs of the couple and their young son in their private residence (some of which have been sold and published),” according to the complaint.
They say based on descriptions of the photograph that is being shopped around, the image was taken while the family was in their backyard and without their knowledge. They say that due to the fencing around the home and the orientation of the backyard to the surrounding streets, any photos could not have been taken without a physical trespass unless some type of special device was used.
“The unscrupulous people shopping these photographs have not innocently mislabeled the photographs as having been taken in a public place,” the couple says. “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.”
The couple says their home address was shared by the British tabloid Daily Mail.
According to the complaint, the couple does know who took the photo and who is trying to sell them to the media, so they have filed their complaint against “John Does” to uncover their identity.
“They also seek to put any prospective purchasers of the photos on notice that they were taken illegally and are not what they purport to be,” the couple says.
The duke and duchess are suing on a claim of invasion of privacy. They seek a court order to have all photographs unlawfully taken of their son turned over and to bar those who are shopping the photos and those who took the photos from continuing the “unlawful conduct” and harassment.
They are represented by Michael Kump of the Santa Monica, California, firm Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert.
Prince Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, died in 1997 when a car she was riding in crashed while being pursued by paparazzi in Paris, France.