Press regulator IPSO has ruled that Mail Online breached the privacy of Prince Harry with an article which showed him pictured in his swimming trunks whilst on holiday with girlfriend Meghan Markle.
The story was headlined: “Time to cool off! Happy (and hunky) Prince Harry enjoys a dip in the ocean as he and Meghan relax on the beach in Jamaica after his ‘wingman’s’ sun-drenched wedding” and was published on 4 March 2017.
The prince said the pictures were taken in circumstances in which he had a reasonable expectation of privacy, while he was engaged in private activities and was unaware that he was being photographed.
He said he was on a private beach where paparazzi photography was not permitted, and where the nearest public place was more than 500 metres away.
He argued that the grainy quality of the pictures demonstrated that they had been taken surreptitiously using a long lens camera.
Mail Online said it was told the pictures were taken on a public beach. It said the photographer had been 700 to 800 yards and had used a 500mm lens.
Upholding the complaint, IPSO said: “The complainant had been photographed during his leisure time on a private beach at a private resort. Indeed, the article itself stated that the complainant was staying at a private resort.
“The images, which had been taken without consent, showed the complainant wearing swimwear and engaging in private leisure activities in circumstances in which he had a reasonable expectation of privacy. Photographing an individual in such circumstances is unacceptable, unless it can be justified in the public interest.
“The publication had not sought to justify the publication of the images in the public interest. Publishing photographs of the complainant engaged in private activities, without his knowledge and consent, represented a significant and unjustified intrusion.”
Mail Online was ordered to publish the critical adjudication on its website.