Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sombre Kate Kicks off Her 25th with a Few Gate Crashers; the Battle to Protect Birthday Girl Kate

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sombre Kate Kicks off Her 25th with a Few Gate Crashers; the Battle to Protect Birthday Girl Kate

Article excerpt

Byline: AMAR SINGH

PRINCE WILLIAM'S girlfriend Kate Middleton is 25 today and to greet her as she left her Chelsea home were a huge gallery of photographers.

Despite a police presence, the paparazzi blocked her path. When she finally drove off she was chased on foot by the photographers. Royal aides are concerned at the increased attention.POLICE are protecting the girlfriend of Prince William from intense media interest today as she celebrates her 25th birthday.

Officers were called to keep back more than 50 photographers and TV cameramen camped outside Kate Middleton's flat.

Among them were about a dozen paparazzi working for the main picture agencies. Most had been gathering near the flat just off the King's Road from 6am.

The police moved in as it was revealed that lawyers acting for the Prince of Wales are holding top-level meetings to find a way of protecting her.

One proposal being examined is a test case, involving harassment laws, as they attempt to protect the privacy of Miss Middleton and curtail the activities of photographers who are following her everywhere she goes.

It comes after a recent press speculation that Miss Middleton and William will soon announce their engagement.

The growing interest around Miss Middleton has invoked memories of the pursuit by sections of the media of Princess Diana.

The law firm Harbottle& Lewis has sent warning letters to media organisations, both here and abroad, that they could face legal action.

Solicitors are said to be looking closely at the ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that safeguarded the privacy of Princess Caroline of Monaco.

A spokesman for Prince Charles's office at Clarence House said today: "Ms Middleton is a private individual and as such can expect to have the privacy and private life that would be enjoyed by any member of the public."

The Press Complaints Commission has indicated that it would be supportive of any official complaint from lawyers acting on behalf of Miss Middleton.

Tim Toulmin, PCC spokesman, said: "Since the press complaints code was rewritten after the death of Diana, we have dealt with thousands of cases where we call people off from harassing others - with success. …

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