Middleton-mania is booming as the royal wedding looms. British publicist Max Clifford tells Reuters, "There's huge interest… Kate's an attractive girl, so from a paparazzi point of view she potentially means a lot of money."
Clifford adds the rules are changing when it comes to snapping a shot of her because "these days the paparazzi are anyone – anyone with a camera, anyone with a mobile phone."
The queen and the rest of the royals have long argued that they should have at least some privacy. Charles' secretary told the Sunday Telegraph in 2009 that "Members of the Royal family feel they have a right to privacy when they are going about everyday, private activities."
The specter of Princess Diana looms large when it comes to the Windsors and the paparazzi. Almost 14 years ago, she died when her limousine crashed in a Paris tunnel as her driver tried to outrun a pack of aggressive photographers. A British inquest jury ruled in 2008 that the posse chasing Diana's car were partly to blame for the horrific accident.
Kate has largely been shielded from the paparazzi during her long relationship with Prince William. After she was photographed on a family holiday in 2009, the British media refrained from using the pictures under pressure from the palace. When the shots surfaced in the German press, Kate sued and won. A court awarded her damages for breach of privacy.
That was back when she was still the girlfriend. Now the stakes are higher. Royal biographer Christopher Wilson says the media may be gearing up to take the gloves off. "Everybody is competitive with everyone else and they want to get a better story and they're prepared to go further than the competition."