By Michael Holden and Andrew MacAskill
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan have issued a warning over harassment by paparazzi photographers after stepping down from their royal duties to start a new life in Canada, a royal source said on Tuesday.
The warning came after the media published images of Meghan taking a stroll through a park in Canada. They have been used by several outlets, including on the front page of the Sun, Britain’s best-selling daily newspaper.
“The Sussexes’ legal team have issued a legal notice to UK press, TV and photo agencies, concerning the use of paparazzi agency photos,” the royal source said, referring to the couple by their title as Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Harry said last year he felt his wife had faced “bullying” from some tabloids similar to that faced by his mother Princess Diana who died in a 1997 car crash while trying to escape paparazzi photographers.
The couple accepted substantial damages and an apology from a news agency last year after it took aerial photographs of their home in the Cotswolds, southern England, forcing them to move out.
Earlier on Tuesday, Harry was shown arriving on Vancouver Island, days after reaching an arrangement with his grandmother Queen Elizabeth and other senior royals that will see him and Meghan quit their royal roles to seek an independent future.
Buckingham Palace confirmed on Saturday that Harry and Meghan would no longer be working members of the royal family. They would not use their “Royal Highness” titles and would pay their own way in life, freeing them to forge a new future in Canada and the United States.
Harry has admitted he had not wanted to step away entirely from his royal life and his military appointments, but said there was no other option.
“It brings me great sadness that it has come to this,” he said on Sunday.
American actress Meghan returned to Canada on Jan. 10 to be reunited with baby son Archie, and Harry flew out late on Monday to join her.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the couple’s formal title which they will continue to use, spent six weeks in Canada at the end of last year before returning to Britain.
They publicly announced earlier this month by publicly announcing they wanted more independence, leaving other senior royals feeling hurt and disappointed, royal sources have said.
WALKING THE DOGS
The new arrangement, agreed following a summit held by the queen at her Sandringham estate in eastern England and attended by Harry’s father and heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles and elder brother Prince William, will come into effect this spring.
Harry is expected to carry out some official engagements before then, although it is not clear whether Meghan will be involved. She was pictured in the Sun newspaper on Tuesday, walking her dogs in a park on Vancouver Island close to where the couple have been staying in a secluded house.
In their new life, the couple will no longer receive public money and will repay the cost of refurbishing their British home in Windsor, which official figures show amounted to 2.4 million pounds ($3 million).
But certain details, such as whether the couple could continue to use the “Sussex Royal” title for their website and branding and their future security arrangements, have either not been finalised or publicly revealed.
Asked about who would pay for their protection, Britain’s justice minister Robert Buckland said there was an issue about how public money was spent.
“Quite clearly there have already been arrangements made about how that family are going to live and how they are going to be able to get private income but there clearly has to be a line of delineation,” he told Sky News.
“I think we all want a family like that to be safe, but at the same time I think what really needs to happen is they need to understand how their lifestyle is to adapt and what their needs might be.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Tuesday that talks about the couple’s security costs were continuing.
(Additional reporting by Kelsey Johnson in Ottawa; Editing by Gareth Jones)