The Sun's veteran royals photographer Arthur Edwards has criticised rival newspapers for their "cruel" coverage of the breakup of Kate Middleton and Prince William.
He spoke to Press Gazette following Saturday's Sun scoop breaking news of the royal split.
Edwards, who has covered the Windsors for 30 years and previously predicted that the young couple would marry, slammed rival newspapers for their critical coverage of the Middletons.
He said: "Some of the remarks about Kate's mother were pretty cruel. Both of her parents are self-made people — those people are the backbone of our country and shouldn't be looked down on.
"It says a lot about the commentators who made these remarks more than it says about the royals. The Prince of Wales welcomed Kate into his home and he thought she was a fabulous person."
The Sun stopped its rival titles from getting the story into later editions, by splashing its first edition with a story about the amount of cash bet on the Grand National.
The Middleton story went in further down the print run, when it was too late for rival titles to catch up.
Edwards said: "The idea is to keep your competitors out of the story — and it worked.
No other paper could carry a line on it."
Edwards said he had been told by a wellplaced source that Middleton would not sell her story. Although celebrity publicist Max Clifford said she could easily earn millionsfrom it, he said she could make even more money by simply "being herself".
"If she got involved with a major fashion house, in PR terms she would be worth a fortune to them. People are so curious and know very little about her at all — and she wouldn't have to say anything."
As to how Middleton can now stay out of the press, he said: "If she were my client, there would be masses of things she could tell me that would be of great interest to Fleet Street's finest, and if they knew that, they would look after her."
The director of the Press Complaints Commission, Tim Toulmin, revealed that the commission was contacted by Middleton's lawyers straight after The Sun's story came out on Saturday. The PCC put out a warning urging newspapers not to harass the Middleton family.
He said: "There had been a broad understanding that when there is a development in the story, there would have to be a realistic approach to what is reasonable in terms of her being photographed. But she is still entitled to protection from harassment under the code — that doesn't change."
Toulmin added that when the story moves on Middleton should not expect a paparazzi ban to be in place "in perpetuity".