After a week of renewed headlines about the death of his mother in a Paris car crash 10 years ago, Prince William has complained of being " aggressively" pursued in his own vehicle by the paparazzi.
The complaint came from Clarence House after the Prince was pictured being driven away from a nightclub in South Kensington early yesterday with his on-off girlfriend Kate Middleton. William's spokesman, Paddy Harverson, described the photographers' behaviour as "incomprehensible", given the context of the week. It has seen the start of the inquest into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, along with that of her boyfriend Dodi Fayed and their driver Henri Paul, from the 1997 crash of their limousine in Paris while it was closely pursued by paparazzi on motorbikes.
William and a smiling Miss Middleton were photographed leaving the Boujis nightclub. Mr Harverson said: "Prince William was concerned by the threatening behaviour of the paparazzi in London last night.
"Having already been photographed leaving the club, he and Kate were then pursued in his car by photographers on motorcycles, in vehicles and on foot. The aggressive pursuit was potentially dangerous and worrying for them. It seems incomprehensible, particularly at this time, that this behaviour is still going on."
The inquest into Diana's death has been shown a series of images of the Princess and Dodi, the son of Harrods owner Mohammed Al Fayed. On Thursday, jurors were told that Mr Paul appeared to talk to paparazzi gathered outside the Ritz Hotel where the couple had been dining on the fateful August evening of the crash. He also appeared to indicate to the waiting press pack that the Princess was about to emerge from the hotel, before a photographer focused his camera towards the back exit from where the party emerged. Mr Paul was over the drink-driving limit before he sped the couple and their bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, with photographers in hot pursuit, into the Pont d'Alma tunnel.
Miss Middleton and William last appeared together in public at a memorial concert for Diana in July, though they sat apart. Frenzied speculation has surrounded the couple's relationship, since it began several years ago after they met at St Andrew's University. In April, they announced they were separating, but recent weeks have seen excited reports about an apparent rekindling of the romance. Yesterday the bookmakers William Hill closed the betting on a wedding, saying it was "no longer a question of if they get married but when they get married".