The Duchess of Cambridge’s boobs have got me thinking: where do I stand on the privacy debate? With respect to celebrities, this isn’t a question I have ever properly considered, nor is it as clear-cut as I anticipated. Perhaps for this reason, the laws involved are hazier still. In the case of Kate Middleton, for example, the status of the château at which the pictures were taken is bizarrely uncertain, according to Duncan Lamont of Charles Russell LLP, ‘The château is rented out and there may be debate as to how truly private it was.’ A legal battle could take years to resolve. Not that media giant Closer has cause to worry: any fines enforced will pale in comparison to the revenue generated by this week’s issue.
In my opinion, if a person doesn’t want their photograph published, it shouldn’t be. End of. Yet we live in a society where many celebrities covet the front page, even if it takes an untamed armpit hair to get them there. So how is the paparazzi to know where exactly the ‘red line’ (as it was termed in a statement by St James’ Palace) lies? Of course, one would be stupid to have imagined that the Windsors (with the exception of Prince Harry) were likely to accept such scandalous amount of boobage with a mere sporting laugh. But in many instances, the boundaries must be damn confusing: whilst celebrities are unable to endorse every shot of them pre-make up, such coverage is often welcomed by those needing greater publicity. It is as vital to them as a personal statement is to a university applicant (topical simile right there.) It screams ‘I’m just like you! See there, look at craaazy me disgracing myself after too much Dom Perignon. Take me into your hearts, love me, want me.’ Or something like that.
And we do want it. I expect that half of those currently condemning Closer have been just as fervently tapping Kate Middleton’s name into Google Images. The other half are making a bomb in newspapers such as The Guardian, reporting on the scandal with the same level of intimacy as any nude photograph.
So we can’t exclusively blame the press; the issue over privacy is much bigger than a few shutter-happy reporters. Either we stop our obsession with Paris Hilton’s knickers (or lack of), or simply accept the gossip-centred world that we live in. With laws so easily twisted and ignored, I can see no middle ground.