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Princely guidelines

Guidelines on the privacy of Prince William have been hailed by the Society of Editors as a common sense reminder of the way the Code of Practice works.

The success of newspaper industry self-regulation was highlighted by Press Complaints Commission chairman Lord Wakeham in a speech delivered in Fleet Street.

He was setting out guidelines for editors on the 18-year-old prince, who is entitled to privacy in the same way as any other public figure.

William, now 18, leaves Eton today (THUR), and will no longer be protected from the full glare of the media spotlight – or by the industry Code of Practice which protects every child.

From today he could be photographed, like any other adult, in public places such as playing polo, shopping or sitting outside a pub. But snatched pictures of him in private places, or places where he might expect privacy, such as a restaurant, should not appear.

Society of Editors director Bob Satchwell said: “We believe that restraint will continue and we welcome the commitments already published by several editors.

“Prince William is a public figure but as the code says, even public figures are entitled to privacy.

“There will naturally be stories and pictures about Prince William because the public wants, and is entitled, to watch him grow up. But there will not be unjustified intrusion.

“It is important the palace continues to recognise that, and continues to co-operate with the media and its legitimate interest in the Royal Family.

“The Code of Practice is policed by the PCC which has a majority of lay members led by Lord Wakeham. Editors have come to respect its common sense decisions. That is the secret of the success of the code and self regulation.”

Lord Wakeham said the Prince’s 18th birthday was not a signal for the paparazzi to return, and that William should be allowed to have a private life.

He also warned that endless intrusion, particularly over future girlfriends, would make the Prince’s life a misery.

He said: “I do not believe it possible or desirable to prohibit newspapers entirely from speculation and reports about young ladies that might eventually become a more permanent feature of his life.

“But I would say this: endless intrusion of the sort we have not seen for five years and the constant, powerful headlamps of unwarranted publicity would make his life a misery and make it much more difficult for him to forge proper and meaningful relationships.

“So newspapers must continue to exercise restraint – as they have done in the past. They must continue to check their facts. And they must continue to think about the impact on Prince William on either inaccurate or intrusive stories on this particular subject.”

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