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Meghan Markle compares privacy to putting a family photo on work desk

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·4-min read

Watch: Duchess of Sussex insists on a 'basic right to privacy'

Meghan Markle has won praise for comparing her desire for privacy to putting a family photograph on a desk at work, as she explained what she wanted when she stepped back as a senior royal.

The Duchess of Sussex, 39, told Oprah Winfrey that she had never talked about privacy, but wanted to set boundaries.

She compared those boundaries to someone putting a photograph of their child on their desk, and a colleague asking to see more photographs because of it.

Meghan said: “If you’re at work and you have a photograph of your child on your desk, and your co-worker says, ‘Oh, my gosh, your kid’s so cute. That’s fantastic! Can I see your phone so I can see all the pictures of your child?’

“You go, ‘No, this is the picture I’m comfortable sharing with you.'”

She then said: “And then if they double down and say, ‘No, but you already showed me that one. So you have to show me everything.

"'You know what, I’m just gonna hire someone to sit in front of your house, or hide in the bushes and take pictures into your backyard, because you’ve lost your right to privacy because you shared one image with me.'

"That’s sort of the flawed argument and operating mechanism they’re confusing people to think.

"I think life is about being able to share our stories, share parts of our lives that you’re comfortable with.”

The first part of the interview will be Meghan one on one with Winfrey. (CBS)
Meghan Markle talking to Oprah Winfrey. (CBS)

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She added: "There’s no one who’s on Instagram or social media that would say, ‘Because I shared this one picture, that entitles you to have my entire camera roll.

"‘Go ahead and look through it.’

"No one would want that. So it’s about boundaries. And it’s about respect."

Reflecting on the analogy on Twitter, an attorney who uses the name Techni-Calli said: "Girl, she CRUSHED that privacy explanation. Love it. No notes.

"(I mean, some potential expansions because I’m an obnoxious privacy lawyer, but NO NOTES.)"

Solicitor Ibrahim Hasan, who runs Act Now Training, tweeted: "Wonder how much it would cost to have her as a guest speaker on our next #gdpr workshop?"

Meghan and Prince Harry have taken legal action on several occasions related to photographs taken of the couple when they were either in private settings or had an expectation of privacy.

Watch: Susanna Reid addresses Piers Morgan’s exit from Good Morning Britain

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In December, they settled with Splash News and Pictures over photos taken of her with their son Archie when she was in a park in Canada in January 2020.

They also filed action against "unknown photographers" who they said have an "insatiable appetite for harassing and intruding” on their private lives.

They said drones and long lens cameras were used to take pictures of Archie when he was in their garden.

Speaking to Winfrey, Meghan said: "I think everyone has a basic right to privacy – basic.

“We’re not talking about anything that anybody else wouldn’t expect.”

The duchess added: “They’ve created a false narrative. I’ve never talked about privacy.”

Reacting to her comments, Camilla Tominey, associate editor of The Telegraph, told ITV's This Morning: "Royal privacy has never been more respected in recent years

"When they were living in Windsor, they were hardly seen.

"She's perfectly entitled to have their faces pixelated. No paper in Britain, Europe and US might be different, would feature an unauthorised picture of George, Charlotte, Louis or Archie."

When they announced their step back from being senior royals in January 2020, Harry and Meghan explained how they wanted to work with the media.

They said: "Their Royal Highnesses recognise that their roles as members of the Royal Family are subject to interest, and they welcome accurate and honest media reporting as well as being held to account if appropriate. Equally, like every member of society, they also value privacy as individuals and as a family."

They said they wanted to keep social media, and wanted to be able to share images directly with people, not via the royal rota system first.

The couple are currently not on social media but have said they might return to it in the future.