Even more legal action awaits the Sussexes after Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s lawsuit over Archie’s private photos was filed on Thursday, July 23. The Duke and Duchess have reportedly filed a complaint with the state of California over multiple “invasions of privacy” after an unknown photographer allegedly took photos of their one-year-old son, Archie, on their private property.
The couple’s attorney, Michael Kump, claims that Meghan, 38, and Harry, 35, learned that the photographer was “shopping photographs of their 14-month-old son, Archie,” taken at their home in Los Angeles and have since decided to pursue legal action, according to court documents obtained by E! News. The duo is seeking the “right to be left alone in the privacy of their home,” along with compensatory and punitive damages, as well as the rights to the unauthorized photos.
This news comes amid the couple’s ongoing lawsuit against British tabloid, The Mail on Sunday (and their publishers, Associated Newspapers) for publishing a private letter Meghan sent to her father Thomas Markle following her royal wedding with Prince Harry in 2018. While the royal couple moved from the U.K. in part to escape the media scrutiny Meghan faced, it seems they have now continued to run into issues with paparazzi in the States.
In a statement shared with E! News, the couple’s attorney said that they only want to ensure their “right to privacy” as it is protected by California law—no more, no less. “No drones, helicopters, or telephoto lenses can take away that right,” Kemp told E!, “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are filing this lawsuit to protect their young son’s right to privacy in their home without intrusion by photographers, and to uncover and stop those who seek to profit from these illegal actions.”
The unnamed photographer alleges that the photos of Archie were taken during a public outing in Malibu, however, Kemp claims that “Archie has not been in public, let alone in Malibu, since the family arrived here. It is clear from a description of the photographs being shopped that they were taken of activities in the backyard of the residence, unbeknownst to [Meghan and Harry].”
Since moving to Los Angeles following their official royal exit in April 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have dealt with multiple “invasions of privacy” despite their “best efforts” to secure their home with mesh fencing and security teams. In May 2020, the couple reportedly called the police after spotting drones circling their property. The drones reportedly caught aerial views of Prince Harry playing in the yard with the couple’s dogs, as well as attempted photography of the family—including their son, Archie—spending time together in their pool. Since then, Meghan and Harry are rumored to have hired director Tyler Perry’s former security crew to protect their property.
“They see these drones coming in at them, and they guess that they are being operated by photographers, but they can’t just assume that,” the source told The Daily Beast at the time. “Meghan received racist death threats at the time of her wedding, so the terror threat is very real for them. But, aside from that, imagine if you were in their shoes facing that, how that would feel? To have drones buzzing around 20 feet above your head when you are trying to play with your son?”
The source added, “It’s like people forget they are real people. But this is a real family. They are not asking for any special treatment; they are just asking for the safety and security we all expect in our own homes to be respected.”
Here’s hoping the Sussexes can get some peace and privacy soon.