Kate Middleton's family has a paparazzi problem

Prince William and Kate Middleton AP Photo/Peter Morrison

In exactly three weeks, Prince William and Kate Middleton will say "I do" in a wedding to be seen around the world. In the meantime, though, some members of Kate's family are dealing with a paparazzi problem that the royal family is all-too-familiar with.

With the wedding day closing in, the royal palaces are getting everything in line, including the press, CBS News correspondent Kelly Cobiella reported on "The Early Show."

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The paparazzi have been warned to give the Middleton family some space after pictures appeared of Kate's mother and sister out and about in London.

It was just another mother and daughter shopping day -- except that mother and daughter are about to become in-laws of the royal family.

When newspapers printed the candid pictures of Kate Middleton's mother, Carole, and sister, Pippa, it drew a polite slap on the wrist from the country's media watchdog.

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St. James's Palace said, "Following some incidents of alleged harassment and pursuit by agencies and freelancers, the Middleton family ... have sought to draw the attention of editors to their concern."

The royals and anyone else whose picture will help sell a paper have some legal cover from the paparazzi in Britain, Cobiella pointed out. It's called the Red Carpet Rule. When they're on their official duties, snap away; when they're running errands, back off.

The rules didn't exist when Princess Diana was alive, and Prince William may still blame the paparazzi for hounding his mother to her death in a Paris tunnel in 1997.

Ten years later, Kate Middleton was hounded, too, on her 25th birthday. These days, it's the prince who seems to be winning the media war. His bachelor party came and went without a single photo in the paper.

Ingrid Seward, editor of Majesty magazine, told CBS News, "Of course, he has no time for the press at all. And you can't blame him. And he's not only protecting Kate, but he's determined to protect Kate's family. So basically, you could says say this comes from Prince William."

A picture of Kate's mother at the queen's estate drew a warning last December. Since then, coverage has been mostly positive and respectful. But with the royal wedding frenzy growing, the media honeymoon may be over.

Cobiella said, "Of course, it's a delicate balance. The media needs its pictures, and the royal family appears to be very aware of this. And that might be why we're seeing so much of Kate and William lately. In fact, the royal couple has yet another appearance scheduled for Monday. And cameras are welcome."

But can these rules be enforced, particularly when the worldwide media descend on London for the wedding?

Cobiella said, "It's very difficult to enforce. It's one thing to try to hold the media in London, and in the U.K. to these standards. But foreign media are a different matter altogether. And that may be, again, why we're seeing so much of this royal couple to sort of feed the beast, as it were."

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