Meghan Markle sues picture agency over photos of her with son Archie

Meghan Markle sues picture agency over photos of her walking with son Archie in a park on Vancouver Island

  • The Duchess of Sussex is taking legal action against  Splash News and Pictures
  • Her action centres on pictures of Meghan and Archie taken in a park in January
  • None of the images show her son’s face and also feature two of her dogs
  • They say they misuse private information and breach the Data Protection Act

The Duchess of Sussex has taken a news and picture agency to the High Court over pictures of her and her son Archie in a Canadian park. 

At a remote hearing on Wednesday, the couple’s barrister Jonathan Barnes said Meghan and her son were ‘papped’ by a photographer for the US arm of the Splash News and Pictures Agency.

Neither Archie’s face nor any part of his body could be seen, as he was wrapped in winter clothing and facing away from the lens. 

Mr Barnes said the agency sold the images, which were taken on January 20 this year, which show the duchess walking with her son in a baby sling, and her two dogs, in Horth Hill Regional Park on Vancouver Island.

Meghan with Harry and son Archie in the first public outing of the trio after his birth

The case is being brought by Meghan in her own right and by her and her husband, the Duke of Sussex, on behalf of Archie.

The couple claim the photographs represent a misuse of Meghan and Archie’s private information and are in breach of the Data Protection Act.

They are also pursuing action against the UK arm of the agency, but sought permission at Wednesday’s hearing to serve the claim on the US-registered company which is based in Los Angeles.

Mr Barnes told the court: ‘In a nutshell, as a claimant lawyer, I would describe what happened to the claimants as being they were ‘papped’.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex pictured visiting a Tembisa township in South Africa

‘This was without their acquiescence or consent and it is accepted that it was by an employee of the (US agency), Steve Dennett.’

Mr Barnes said the pictures were taken during ‘a private recreational outing on Vancouver Island’.

He added that, the day before the pictures were taken, the photographer was ‘at the private home of the claimants’ and said he was ‘casing their home, testing his light meter and taking photos through the security fence, so he was not at the park by accident’.

Mr Barnes continued that Splash’s solicitors had suggested in correspondence that ‘the first claimant (Meghan) knew everything that was going on and was a volunteer in the sense that she carried on walking when she knew she was being photographed’.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Master Victoria McCloud gave the claimants permission to serve their case against the US arm of Splash.

The action is the latest chapter in a fractious relationship between the couple and sections of the media which began in the early period of their relationship.

Meghan is suing Associated Newspapers, publisher of The Mail On Sunday and MailOnline, over publication of a letter the duchess wrote to her estranged father, Thomas Markle. 

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