Prince Harry's beach photos press complaint upheld

Prince Harry Image copyright PA

A complaint by Prince Harry over photos of him on a beach in Jamaica published by Mail Online has been upheld by the independent press watchdog.

The prince said the images had been taken in circumstances in which he had a reasonable expectation of privacy, as it was on a private beach.

Prince Harry was on the beach with his girlfriend Meghan Markle.

Mail Online said it had been provided with credible information that the prince had been on a public beach.

Swimming shorts

Prince Harry also complained that he was engaged in private activities unconnected to his public role and was unaware that he was being photographed.

The prince said Mail Online had made no attempt to seek his consent or to establish the circumstances in which the photographs had been taken before publication.

The article, published on 4 March, 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."

It included several photos showing Prince Harry wearing swimming shorts, at a beachside bar and in the sea.

Mail Online said it had relied on the information it received and had published the images in good faith.

It added that it was unfortunate and regrettable that it had been misinformed about the circumstances in which the images had been taken and it had not been its intention to cause distress to the prince.

'Unacceptable in circumstances'

In its ruling, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (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."

It continued: "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."

Ipso ordered Mail Online to publish the adjudication on its website.

Prince Harry also complained to the watchdog on the basis of accuracy but this was not upheld.