Although the Queen is pictured during her traditional Christmas Day visit to church, the Daily Mail reveals today that they had hoped to publish photos of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s visit too.
But, their report says, the Palace sent a note to Royal correspondents last week saying the Duke and Duchess, who were spending Christmas with her family this year in the village of Bucklebury, that there would be no photo opportunity.
This was because although the couple would be out in public – when anyone could take a picture of them – the Palace felt it was a private event.
Bizarrely however the Palace didn’t alert any press agencies to this decision and so they turned up. It would appear the Police weren’t told either as they cleared a space for agency photographers.
Those photographers, who it must be remembered were working on Christmas Day, must have felt it was worthwhile being away from their own families when they took lovely photos of the Duke and Duchess attending church.
However, it was all for nothing as the Palace has since ordered that no photos must be printed.
We believe everyone is entitled to a private life. Indeed, a few weeks ago we wrote that when the Duchess was in hospital with pregnancy sickness, we believed all the press cameras should have been cleared away.
However, we do pay enormous taxes, some of which go to keep our Royal family in the luxury they live in. And they are hardly out every day on Royal duties. So it seems miserable not to have allowed just one photo when it had already been happily taken, to have been printed in newspapers.
As well as that, the Royal family underpins traditional family life in this country. Most people no longer go to Church, even at Christmas, so any opportunity to promote traditional values should be welcomed by the Palace. Surely this is the role and ‘job’ of the Royal family.
This sort of censoring of the media – especially if it becomes common-place – could also backfire. Since the Duke and Duchess wed, the popularity of the Royal family has risen. One of the reasons is William and Kate come over very much as a sweet and ordinary couple. But if you start throwing your weight about, becoming too precious, you run the risk of alienating those people who champion you.
It’s also worth remembering that legally anyone else could have taken a photo of this couple yest – because they were in a public place – and published it on a blog. Photos of Prince Harry naked circulated widely on the internet but were not allowed to be printed in UK newspapers. Pictures of Kate topless were not printed in the UK press because newspapers, who respected that the photos were taken of her in a private place, were worried about upsetting the Royal family.
The photos taken of the Duke and Duchess on Christmas Day were taken by reputable agencies who would be highly unlikely to break rank and publish them on their own websites – because they would doubtless risk being removed from any other Palace press opportunities in the future.
But this sort of censorship will surely encourage the sort of behaviour no-one wants to see – more photos of the Royal family that newspapers are not allowed to print – just turning up online instead.