5 times British royals sued the press to protect their privacy – Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana took on the Daily Mirror while Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had to move house

Five times British royals like Prince Charles, Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth fought back against the press. Photos: AFP,

While there are many benefits to being a member of the British royal family, there is a price to pay for the attached fame and fortune.

Three generations of royals were photographed together at Prince Charles’ 70th birthday. Photo: @PrinceHRHGeorge/Twitter
The sheer popularity of any royal news story often means members of the press will overstep the mark – and even the law – in pursuit of the royal scoop that could make them famous.

Here are five times members of the royal clan fought back against invasions of their privacy.

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Queen Elizabeth vs Daily Mirror

When undercover journalist Ryan Parry got access to Buckingham Palace, he even managed to snap a photo of Queen Elizabeth’s breakfast table. Photo: AFP
This caused a huge scandal when it happened. Back in 2003, an undercover journalist managed to get unprecedented access to Buckingham Palace when he applied for – and got – a job working as a footman in the royal household. The reporter, Ryan Parry, submitted a fake reference when he applied for the job, and managed to snap a picture of Queen Elizabeth’s breakfast table, among other clandestine photos from around the palace.
Queen Elizabeth walks past the flags of the Commonwealth member countries as part of Commonwealth Day at St. George’s Hall in Windsor Castle, on March 6. Photo: PA Wire/DPA

After Daily Mirror published several of the pictures in a front page splash, the queen’s lawyers approached the courts to prevent the newspaper from publishing any further pictures they might have had. Eventually the queen and the paper agreed on a settlement.

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Prince Charles vs his former housekeeper

Prince Charles took legal action against his former housekeeper Wendy Berry in 1995. Photo: AFP

Prince Charles is no stranger to litigation, but back in 1995, he got a High Court order that prevented a former Highgrove housekeeper of his, Wendy Berry, from publishing her memoirs detailing the time she worked for the prince and his then-wife, Princess Diana.

Prince Charles visits Nezu Museum and Gardens during the royal Tour of Japan in 2019. Photo: Getty Images
The injunction only applied in the UK though, and Berry published in the US. The book, titled The Housekeeper’s Diary, alleged heated arguments between the royal couple and addressed Princess Diana’s relationship with James Hewitt. The prince was then granted an order which allowed him to collect the royalties from the book.

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Prince William and Kate Middleton vs a French magazine

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge marked their 10 year anniversary as a couple this year. Photo: @dukeandduchessofcambridge/Instagram

After publishing topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge, French magazine Closer ended up in the crosshairs of Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton. The two were holidaying in France at the time the pictures were taken.

Prince William and Kate Middleton with their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge. Photo: EPA

After a lengthy court battle, the Cambridges were awarded the amount of €100,000 (US$117,100) in damages for breach of their privacy, and the editor and publisher of the magazine were also fined a total of €90,000 (US$106,000), according to Yahoo! News.

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Princess Diana vs Daily Mirror

Princess Diana clashed with the Daily Mirror over leaked photos in 1993. Photo:
As her brother tragically said at her funeral in 1997: “Of all the ironies about Diana, perhaps the greatest was this – a girl given the name of the ancient goddess of hunting was, in the end, the most hunted person of the modern age.” Diana was relentlessly pursued by the media, which led to a clash between the late Princess of Wales and the Daily Mirror in 1993.
Photos of the late Princess Diana exercising in a gym were leaked by the Daily Mirror. Photo:

The paper published images of Diana exercising in a gym, which they had obtained from the gym owner, according to the BBC. Daily Mirror ending up paying £1 million (US$1,372,000) towards Diana’s legal fees, as well as an amount of £200,000 (US$274,400) to a charity.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle vs an entertainment news agency

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle moved out of their home in Oxfordshire over paparazzi photos. Photo: AFP
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have ruffled plenty of feathers for their outspokenness, but they have gone perhaps further than any royals in protecting their family and their privacy from the media’s prying gaze. They have come to loggerheads a number of times over published stories, leaks and pictures of their lives. Once such case was in 2019 when Splash News published pictures of the couples’ home in Oxfordshire.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend a party in Dublin, Ireland. Photo: WireImage

Splash hired a helicopter to fly over the Sussex’s home, snapping photographs and forcing the couple to move out of the property. According to The Guardian, “Prince Harry has accepted substantial damages and an apology” from the news agency.

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  • Kate Middleton was snapped topless while on holiday with Prince William in France, and a reporter even posed as a footman to snap photos inside Buckingham Palace
  • Prince Charles took legal action when his former housekeeper Wendy Berry wrote her memoir The Housekeeper’s Diary, revealing private details about Princess Diana