The relationship between the press and the Royal Family has long been a British national obsession but recent events have brought the limits of press intrusion sharply into focus. Clive Goodman, royal editor of the News of the World, pleaded guilty back in November last year to intercepting private phone messages intended for Princes William and Harry. Goodman was sentenced at the end of January to four months in prison and his boss, Andy Coulson, editor of the News of the World, has tendered his resignation over the affair.
This case again highlights the need for balance between public interest in the royal family and the royals' right to respect for their private and family life, guaranteed under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and now enshrined in UK domestic law by the Human Rights Act 1998. However, while the jailing of Goodman marks a victory for the royal family in guarding against intrusions into their family life, it remains to be seen whether Kate Middleton, widely tipped to join the Windsor family in the near future, will manage to mount a legal challenge to intrusions into her private life by the paparazzi.