British Royals Get Tough With Paparazzi

After years of running from the flash bulbs with a stiff upper lip, the British royals are baring their teeth, turning and fighting the paparazzi.

"In my view, my personal view, it's time they reined them in," said Arthur Edwards, the royal photographer for The Sun newspaper. Edwards, an elderly gentleman photographer, likes to distance himself from the paparazzi mob that tries to catch Prince Harry falling out of night clubs or Prince William getting fresh with his girlfriend Kate Middleton.

According to a royal spokesman, "They recognize there is a public interest in them and what they do, but they do not think this extends to photographing the private activities of them and their friends."

Royal aides sent letters to newspapers back in September asking them to respect the privacy of royals when they're on private land.

When Christmas rolls around the Royals decamp to their country estate. In years gone by they've been snapped over the holidays by paparazzi using long lenses and trespassing on private land.

At Christmas the royals like to wear a lot of tweed and shoot small animals. Photographs of them doing just that aren't great for public relations.

But they just can't win. The get-tough policy is fuelling rumors about what's really going on behind closed royal doors.

"I think it is more to do with Prince William and Kate Middleton," said Edwards. "And probably an announcement coming next year of their engagement."

Are they laying the ground rules for a royal wedding?

Ingrid Seward, editor of Majesty Magazine said, "They know there is going to be such a media frenzy because we have been waiting for this for so long."

Prince William and Kate Middleton to Wed Soon?

The odds on a Christmas engagement just halved at the bookmakers. A wedding planner just joined the Royal staff.

Officially Sarah Sienesi has become a lady-in-waiting to the Duchess of Wessex. But the fact that Sienesi worked previously as a "Wedding and Event Consultant" has arched eyebrows and set tongues wagging more furiously.

"Well, William has to get married sometime," said Seward. "It's more or less obvious that he is going to marry Kate Middleton. But we just don't know when."

Seward claims that recently the Queen's staff was ordered not to discuss anything about their work, even with members of their own family. Is that another plank in the pre-wedding strategy?

"The tiniest story now is going to spark wedding rumors," said Seward, with more than a tinge of excitement.

But back to the paparazzi: Kate Middleton has already suffered in their glare. She was hounded when she left her house on her 25th birthday. Prince William has politely complained to photographers cramping him and his girlfriend on their way out of nightclubs.

His brother, the hotter-headed Prince Harry, took a swing at a snapper one early morning outside a club. Their mother, Princess Diana, of course, was killed when her limousine crashed while being chased by paparazzi through a Paris underpass.

Now the royals have laid down some ground rules. According to an aide they will no longer tolerate shots of "the private activities of them and their friends."

This Christmas, some are wondering if one such private activity might be William slipping a ring on Kate's finger.

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