The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have settled a claim against Splash News and Picture Agency U.K.. The news was announced at a High Court hearing in London on Friday, Dec. 18.
"As explained in today's hearing, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have successfully settled a legal claim brought at the beginning of this year against the paparazzi agency Splash U.K.," a spokesperson on behalf of Schillings, the legal representation for the couple, confirmed in a statement to E! News. "This settlement is a clear signal that unlawful, invasive, and intrusive paparazzi behavior will not be tolerated, and that the couple takes these matters seriously—just as any family would."
According to the BBC, Meghan and Harry brought privacy and data protection claims against the agency in March after photos of the duchess and her 19-month-old son Archie Harrison were taken at a Canadian park in January. The news organization reported that Meghan's solicitor, Jenny Afia, told the court the pictures were taken while Meghan and Archie were "on a private family outing in a remote rural setting and there was no public interest in the photographs." Per the BBC, Afia also said a Splash photographer had undertaken "a full reconnaissance inspection" of Harry and Meghan's private home the day before the park pictures were snapped, "walking around it looking to identify entry and exit points and putting his camera over the fence to take photographs."
In addition, The Guardian reported that, at a September hearing, Meghan's barrister, Jonathan Barnes, said the agency had sold the photos. In January, Buckingham Palace confirmed to USA Today that Harry and Meghan's legal team had "issued a legal notice to UK press, TV and photo agencies, concerning the use of paparazzi agency photos."
As for the terms of the settlement, Splash U.K., which went into administration in July, has agreed not to take unauthorized photos of the Sussex family should it come out of administration in the future.
"Splash confirms that one of its former companies, now in the hands of the administrators, has agreed that, should it begin trading again, it will not take unauthorized photographs of the family of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex," the company said in a statement to E! News. "It was the administrators who made this statement in court and not Splash. This agreement has no bearing on Splash as a whole, which continues to operate as normal. As long as it is legal to do so, and that the privacy rights of children are protected, Splash will, of course, continue to take photographs of public figures in public. "
Meanwhile, the Schillings spokesperson said "a simultaneous and similar claim against Splash U.S., a sister company to Splash U.K., continues to move forward in the British court system."