The palace said a lawyer for the British monarch wrote to newspaper editors about six weeks ago telling them not to publish intrusive photos of the family at home.
The palace said the letter was sent "in response to many years of the royal family being hounded by photographers on the queen's private property."
The tough new royal stance has been in the works for months and was not triggered by any individual event. It comes just before the Christmas holidays, when photographers traditionally try to snap the royals relaxing at their Sandringham estate in eastern England.
The royal family has long had an uncomfortable relationship with photographers. Some people feel media hounding contributed to the death of Princess Diana in a car crash in 1997.
More recently, Prince William and Prince Harry have been snapped emerging from nightclubs and William's girlfriend Kate Middleton was pursued outside her home.
In 2007 William's spokesman complained about the "threatening" behavior of photographers.
Prince Charles' spokesman, Paddy Harverson, told the Sunday Telegraph that members of the royal family "feel they have a right to privacy when they are going about everyday, private activities."
"They recognize there is a public interest in them and what they do, but they do not think this extends to photographing the private activities of them and their friends," he was quoted as saying.