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Prince Harry and Meghan sue over paparazzi photos of Archie

Harry & Meghan bid farewell to royal life
Harry and Meghan bid farewell to royal life 02:01

Prince Harry and Meghan moved out of the U.K. earlier this year and ended up in California by way of Canada. While they aimed to "focus on the next chapter," stepping away from their "senior" royal roles and working to become financially independent, the couple has still had to deal with the paparazzi.

Now, Prince Harry and Meghan are suing unspecified defendants for violating their privacy.

The lawsuit, filed in LA County Superior Court on Thursday, said the couple announced their intention to move to North America to escape "the incessant UK tabloid fabrications." It says the Daily Mail publicized their location after they moved to Canada, and again when they moved to Los Angeles.

"Within hours, paparazzi set up hundreds of yards away on the ridgetop overlooking the residence, hoping to capture photographs of the family," the suit says. Harry and Meghan were "forced" to put up a mesh fence to block photos, but it wasn't enough. "Some paparazzi and media outlets have flown drones a mere 20 feet above the house, as often as three times a day, to obtain photographs of the couple and their young son in their private residence (some of which have been sold and published)," according to the suit.

It says others have flown helicopters over the LA property's backyard. 

"The family has tried to ignore these physical and constructive trespasses as best they can and go about their daily routine in these unique times," it says. "But the Plaintiffs recently learned that certain paparazzi and their enablers have crossed a red line for any parent."

The couple claims in the suit they learned someone is trying to sell photographs of their 14-month-old son, Archie, "falsely claiming to have taken them on a 'recent' public outing 'in Malibu.'"

"But Archie has not been in public, let alone in Malibu, since the family arrived here," the suit continues. "It is clear from a description of the photographs being shopped that they were taken of activities in the backyard of the residence, unbeknownst to the [couple]."

"The fact that the images at issue remain in the possession of an unknown adult, having already been shown and shared to hundreds if not thousands of potential buyers, is disgusting and wrong," the suit reads.

Harry and Meghan have "the desire and responsibility of any parent to do what is necessary to protect their children from this manufactured feeding frenzy," the suit read.

The couple has named the defendants as "John Does" since they don't know who took the photographs and who is trying to sell them. They are seeking the "right to take discovery to uncover the identity of those who took the photographs and those who are seeking to profit by selling them."

In a statement obtained by CBS News, the couple's lawyer, Michael Kump of Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP, said "every individual and family member in California is guaranteed by law the right to privacy in their home."

"No drones, helicopters or telephoto lenses can take away that right," Kump said. "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are filing this lawsuit to protect their young son's right to privacy in their home without intrusion by photographers, and to uncover and stop those who seek to profit from these illegal actions."

This is not the first time the couple has taken legal action. Last year, Meghan sued the publisher of the British tabloid, Mail on Sunday, claiming it illegally published a private letter she sent to her estranged father.

The royal couple accused the tabloid and its parent company, Associated Newspapers, of misusing private information, infringement of copyright and breach of a U.K. data protection act brought into force in 2018, according to an official statement. The publisher also owns the Daily Mail newspaper and MailOnline.

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