| Sun-spotted: William
London, April 1 (Reuters): Britain’s royal family has reacted with anger after a tabloid newspaper splashed pictures of pin-up Prince William with his “first serious girlfriend” today, breaking a media deal not to invade his privacy.
The Sun printed a series of photos of William, elder son of heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, enjoying a skiing holiday in the exclusive Swiss resort of Klosters with a girl it identified as Kate Middleton.
It was the first time a British paper had ignored the agreement brokered by the royals with the media to allow the 21-year-old prince to enjoy his privacy while still at university in exchange for a number of stage-managed photo opportunities.
“We are very unhappy with what the Sun has done,” a Buckingham Palace source said.
He said the paper might now be excluded from future official photo-calls as a punishment.
The royals have been fiercely determined to protect William and his younger brother Harry from the frenzied media intrusion which dogged their mother Diana before her death in a Paris car crash in 1997.
As part of the media deal, William and Charles held an organised photo-call in Klosters on Sunday where they laughed and joked with reporters and photographers. “Prince William is disappointed that he had gone out of his way to put on a good show on Sunday and then this happens,” the source said.
In an editorial, the Sun justified using the “delightful” paparazzi pictures, with a thinly veiled hint that it would use similar photos again. “Now that he is a mature adult, there is a public interest in knowing what romantic interests might be developing in the prince’s life,” it said.
“One of William’s girlfriends could become queen one day. Her subjects will be entitled to know all about her.”
The Sun said William and businessman’s daughter Middleton, a fellow student at Scotland’s St Andrews University, have been dating for nearly four months.
However the royal family refused to comment. “He’s going to be photographed and seen with a variety of young ladies in the next few years because he’s a young man out and about,” the source said.
“We’re not going to be suddenly going ‘yeah she is, she isn’t, she is, she isn’t’ — it’s not fair on him or them. We’re not going to disclose the nature of his friendships because that’s private.”