Is posting a hyperlink to personal photos of members of the Royal House elsewhere on the internet an infringement on their private lives?
If the publication of a personal photo infringes on the private life of a member of the Royal House, the posting of a link to this photo elsewhere on the internet is also an infringement. In such a case the posting of a hyperlink is no different from actual publication of the original photo.
Like anyone else, members of the Royal House have the right to live their private lives in freedom without fear of being spied on. This was the judgment handed down by Amsterdam district court on 29 March 2006 following the publication of holiday photos of the then Prince Willem-Alexander, Princess Máxima and their eldest daughter in Porto Ercole. On 6 February 2008, with regard to the publication of photos of Princess Máxima and her two older daughters on the beach at Wassenaar, the same court held that ‘the plaintiffs, as public figures, must tolerate the interest of the media, but at the same time they are not to be considered fair game for anything’. Furthermore, in its judgment of 28 August 2009, in response to the publication of photos of Prince Willem-Alexander’s family skiing holiday in Argentina, the court stated that the issue at hand was not only what the photos depicted or how they were taken but the fact that the relevant members of the Royal House should not have to be on guard every moment lest their private lives be photographed and publicised. In the 28 August case the district court also held that ‘facilitating the publication of personal photos by selling them to another party, such as a photographic press agency, is equivalent to publication’.
In every case the courts ruled that the only legal justification for publishing a personal photo of a member of the Royal House that infringes on the subject’s private life is when that image can contribute to public debate on a matter of public interest.