Duchess of Cambridge: How far is too far?
September 16, 2012
By: Ella Sharp
Although the pictures may not be splashed over magazine covers in the UK, we have all seen them. Whether it was accidentally stumbling across them, or curiosity driving us to google the Duchess’ name, thanks to an unsavoury photographer and the editor of the French edition of ‘Closer’ magazine, we have now all seen the future Queen of England topless. And this is where we can begin to question the paparazzi culture we live in.
Over recent years a number of cases have arisen that have allowed us to take a step back and objectively look at the newspaper and magazine society and how they effect and invade the privacy of those in, or even not in, the public eye. The phone-hacking scandal, for instance, not only affected celebrities, but had a huge effect on the Amanda Dowler murder case. When the newspapers change the course of a murder investigation, something has to change.
It is clear to us all that the Duchess of Cambridge photographs do not, and will not, have such a devastating aftermath, so why do we really care? Photographs like this have been taken before. Kate Moss and new husband Jamie Hince relaxing on a boat, Pixie Geldof frolicking in the sea; when these photos emerged no one battered an eyelid, or even noticed. Why do we hold the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in a much superior position? The pictures of Kate Moss were equally as intimate.
There are several reasons the outcry from these pictures has been greater than anything seen recently. Kate Middleton was a normal girl, she did not decide to be in the public eye; she merely married the man she loved. However, she, as well as William, would have known the media attention they create. The Royal Tour to Singapore and the Solomon Islands they are currently undertaking has generated huge media interest. When the couple are doing good we can take photos, they should realise that it’s not a pick and choose culture, the ‘paps’ will take photos whether you like it or not.
But is this right?
The fame culture goes hand in hand with the paparazzi culture. You chose to be famous; you know the magazines and newspapers will print your photos. Extremely private celebrities such as Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow may have forged a different route, but the paparazzi will always pursue them.
But does paparazzi culture go hand in hand with the royals? Recently, yes. Most noticeably from the likes of Prince Harry, we are seeing a new generation of royals. Harry is the epitome of a young man, wanting to go out and have fun. The recent Las Vegas photos, and the little to no reaction from the palace, demonstrates just this. So with this new generation comes a greater paparazzi interest, these royals are young, interesting and are little celebrities in the making. Even Princess’ Beatrice and Eugenie are getting increased media coverage.
There is no discussion of the Duchess of Cambridge without comparison to Diana, Princess of Wales. And these photographs further encourage this comparison. Diana was, arguably, the first ‘celebrity’ royal. Even after her divorce from Prince Charles, she was still the People’s Princess, a role Kate Middleton seems to be fitting into. These photographs have reminded the public of Diana and her fate, so we can only assume William’s fear over his wife’s. The paparazzi are blamed for killing Diana, so the constant media attention on his wife would be extremely uncomfortable.
There are two ways of looking at these photographs. One, a view of sympathy for the couple. It was a private moment, an intimate moment, one not to be shared with the world. On the other hand, it is possible to argue the Royals are in the public eye, it is their job. However, a job they were expected to take up, one they were almost forced into. For me, sympathy is the easiest way to view the situation. However, I feel almost unsatisfied with this opinion.
The recent events and the aftermaths have almost made me question the royal family itself. The incredible support behind Prince Harry is only there because he is a royal. A job he clearly isn’t interested in, yes he may have matured in recent years, but he has always been the rebel to the royal family. Yet we support him, even in his rebellion. But what has he done to deserve such support?
For me, these pictures are sad. We are seeing a huge invasion of privacy. Even in so called ‘real’ celebrities lives, the line is being crossed daily. Hopefully these pictures will encourage further discussion on the lengths paparazzi go to get an ‘exclusive’ picture. The grainy quality of the photographs demonstrate just how secluded the couple thought they were, and the privacy that has been corrupted.
To add another straw to the camel’s back, an Italian magazine has told the BBC they will also be publishing the photographs, in a 26 page special. Hopefully the couple will have time to stop the publication before the whole world gets a glimpse.