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Paparazzi need to back off of Prince George, British royal family says

Paparazzi need to back off of Prince George, British royal family says
Prince George at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene on the Sandringham Estate, England, during Princess Charlotte's christening on July 5, 2015. (Chris Jackson / Associated Press)

Britain's 2-year-old Prince George has become the paparazzi's "number one target," his parents say, and they're trying to put an end to it. 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge issued a statement via Kensington Palace on Friday to raise public awareness about the unauthorized images being taken of their son and his sister, Princess Charlotte.

Prince William and Duchess Catherine have shared several glimpses of the adorable heirs during public appearances, along with a few widely released portraits. They say they've been delighted to do so, but have been troubled by the dissemination of paparazzi images in the tabloids and the tactics deployed to obtain them.

Stateside, several celebrities, including Jennifer Garner, Halle Berry and Kristen Bell have taken a stand against photographers taking unauthorized images of their kids, including supporting the "No Kids Policy" that was launched last year to wide public support and has been adopted by numerous media outlets.

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Jason Knauf, communications secretary for the Cambridges, reached out about the issue to leaders in the media and standards organizations in Britain and abroad.

"It is hoped that those who pay paparazzi photographers for their images of children will be able to better understand the distressing activity around a 2-year-old boy that their money is fueling," Knauf said. "We also feel that the readers who enjoy the publications that fuel this market for the unauthorized photos deserve to understand the tactics deployed to obtain these photos."

At issue are shots of George snapped during the royals' everyday, private activities. Aside from the usual techniques of using long-range lenses, following the royals' cars and monitoring their movements in public, the palace enumerated several alarming instances of paparazzi behavior, including using children to draw George into view around playgrounds, hiding on private property around the royals' Norfolk home and obscuring themselves in sand dunes to take photos of George playing with his grandmother at the beach.

There have been security issues as well, the palace said.

"It is of course upsetting that such tactics -- reminiscent as they are of past surveillance by groups intent on doing more than capturing images -- are being deployed to profit from the image of a 2-year old boy. In a heightened security environment such tactics are a risk to all involved. The worry is that it will not always be possible to quickly distinguish between someone taking photos and someone intending to do more immediate harm," Knauf said.

The royal couple also appealed to parents' sensibilities about their stance, which is all the more poignant given that William's mother, Princess Diana, died in a car crash while being pursued by paparazzi in Paris.

"The Duke and Duchess are glad that leaders in the media industry share the view that every child, regardless of their future public role, deserves a safe, happy, and private childhood," Knauf said.

Follow me on Twitter @NardineSaad

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