The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been warned by a legal expert not to “cherry pick” which privacy cases they pursue, after a paparazzi photo of Prince George was published in a magazine.
The image showed Kate Middleton and her six-month-old son George leaving a British Airways plane thought to be on the Caribbean island of St Vincent, en route to their holiday in Mustique.
The long-lense photos featured on the cover and in eight pages of Hello! Magazine from late January, marks the first time his image has been seen publicly since he was christened in the autumn.
It has sparked questions as to why the couple has not tried to stop the photo being published, when they have previously expressed concern that allowing photos of Prince George to be published would breach his privacy.
In the past the palace has taken legal action against “off-duty” photography of the couple and appealed to photographers to follow their industry's code of practice.
Last week, Kensington Palace had asked newspapers not to publish pictures of the Duke of Cambridge looking unhappy getting off a train in Cambridge.
Jeremy Clarke-Williams, a media lawyer with the firm Slater & Gordon, said: “It seems in this case the Royal Family or Kate and William have decided they can live with this particular unauthorised photo even though it shows their child's face.”
He added that while he does not think the couple’s message is “anything goes” and that “pictures will be viewed on a case by case basis," he said there is a danger they could be seen to be “cherry picking the cases they pursue”.
“The courts might look dimly on that,” he said.
It is thought their decision to not launch a case may be based on the fact that the photos are of a low quality, and do not show the baby’s face in any great detail.
The couple previously sought redress through the French legal system after topless photos of the Duchess were published in French Closer magazine in 2009, when she was not married to Prince William.
She later won £5,000 in damages and an apology from Rex Features for invasion of privacy.
Kensington Palace declined to comment on the photos published in Hello! But Royal sources told The Telegraph that it did not object to the pictures because they were taken “in a public place, without any harassment or pursuit”.
Additional reporting by PA