For those not following royal photographers on Twitter, it seems like there was an incident on Saturday about which royal photographer, Niraj Tanna, cryptically Tweeted:
While no specific royals were mentioned, royal watchers suspected it could be a dangerous escalation of the Cambridge’s ongoing privacy war against the media. The Usual Suspects, it turns out, were on an extended weekend ski getaway with newly released photos by John Stillwell Tweeted by @Kensington Royal providing the anticipated family photos to quiet the grumbling masses.
Photographer Jesal Parshotam offered another clue about what Tanna’s Tweet was eluding to:
It was pretty messed up when in August, Jason Knauf, Communications Secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, released a public appeal for sympathy which also included the veiled threat, “it will not always be possible to quickly distinguish between someone taking photos and someone intending to do more immediate harm.” But putting the general public at risk using taxpayer-funded RPOs driving recklessly to avoid being photographed ups the crazy factor. Allegedly back in December, Kate Middleton’s car is said to have employed the same photographer evasion tactics. As one royal watcher noted:
If I were ever to be mowed down by a Royal Protection Officer driving recklessly to keep any member of the royal family from getting photographed, I would haunt the crap out of both the RPO and the royal in question. And it wouldn’t be one of those polite hauntings either where a couple times a year you think you maybe saw something out of the corner of your eye and sometimes feel a cold draft that has no discernible source, I would throw a phantasmal freak-out. There would be no Lola, only Zuul.
The Tweet of another royal photographer suggests the incident to which Niraj Tanna eluded transpired at the wedding of William’s ex-girlfriend, Olivia Hunt, which took place this weekend.
Interestingly, as Sebastian Shakespeare noted in his most recent Daily Mail piece, the only member of the British Royal Family to attend the wedding was Prince Harry. Neither Prince William or Kate Middleton went, opting instead for a private family ski getaway. While Prince Harry is not known to possess the same level of animosity towards the press as his older brother, he once got into an altercation with Niraj Tanna outside of Boujis, as detailed in a 2010 article by Camilla Tominay so it’s possible their history has something to do with Tanna’s Tweet. Prince Harry has grown a lot in the past few years, though, and has found a way to juggle the pressures of his role, gladly posing for photos with royal fans, even tipping off the press as to his whereabouts while accommodating photographic requests. Harry’s conducted himself with far more grace than his brother, the future king, which makes me even more curious about the missing pieces of this story which still remain untold.
This line from Sebastian Shakespeare’s Daily Mail article does not sit well at all with me, “Security was in place for royal guests. Tourists and photographers were turned away from entering, apparently at the request of the police.”
Exactly how much taxpayer money went towards security for this private wedding at Temple Church because of its royal guest list? Security costs for the British Royal Family are never reported with the excuse that revealing the figure would somehow jeopardize their safety. Were RPOs used to keep photographers from documenting this taxpayer expense, endangering the very taxpayers who fund them in the process?
Hopefully Niraj Tanna will follow up with details. Considering this is the second accusation in three months of RPOs driving aggressively to avoid having pictures taken, hopefully some better way of handling the presence of photographers will be explored that won’t endanger the masses.
I really wish Crown Princess Victoria taught seminars on how to juggle a royal role and family life, both she and her husband, Prince Daniel, manage it far better than any other royals. In my opinion, the reason they are able to have the privacy they want is because they are dedicated to duty and accommodate interest in their family, providing enough of a public presence that they are allowed to keep the rest for themselves. After the birth last week of Prince Oscar Carl Olaf, Prince Daniel addressed reporters warmly and requested the same kind of space with their newborn son they were granted by the press when Princess Estelle was born for which they were so thankful. No expectation of privacy letters handed out, no threats, just an acknowledgement of how wonderfully understanding the press had been after Estelle’s birth and an appreciative request that Oscar’s birth could be handled in the same manner.
These latest photos released of the Cambridges on Twitter are lovely, but ultimately, they are glossy photos of a family to which the public feels little connection enjoying some wintry frivolity. I also question the reasoning behind taking photos of a couple criticized for their lack of worth ethic while on a get-away from the duties they rarely undertake. While the photos are likely intended to represent a promising future for the monarchy, they also represent an increased burden on taxpayers. RPOs are flown Business or First Class on the taxpayer’s dime, their accommodations, overtime and per diem are also covered by the taxpayer. That’s a pretty pricy photo op during a time of austerity.