Detailed images of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Montecito mansion have gone viral on TikTok—but a security professional told Regalrumination.com such images could be “a big problem.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex once moved out of a house in the English countryside citing security concerns after a paparazzi agency took detailed aerial pictures of the property using a helicopter.
However, panoramic views of their nine-bedroom, $14 million home in Montecito that appear to have been created using a tool similar to Google Earth’s 3D modeling have been viewed more than 560,000 times on TikTok alongside old real estate agent images showing the interior of the property.
Google uses a combination of satellites and cameras mounted on planes in order to create its vivid 3D impression of our planet.
The post, by the account celebritieshomes, was liked more than 10,000 times after it was posted with the message: “Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s house in California worth $11M.”
Alex Bomberg, chief executive of Intelligent Protection International, told Regalrumination.com: “Internal and external imagery is a problem. It is something that needs to be controlled and the way that modern houses are bought and sold is a problem.”
“If you were a stalker and you were planning to enter the house it helps you plan what you are doing,” added Bomberg, who has provided close protection to royalty and was previously an aide at Kensington Palace to the Duke of Gloucester.
“Modern satellite imagery exists of most places these days. there are very few sites where it’s restricted, unless it’s a military site.
“Most of this information is out there and it does help an adversary plan an operation unfortunately.
“You add that to internal imagery, you add the two together and you can almost have a 3D model if you like of the location which is very, very useful for somebody planning an attack or a robbery. So it is a big problem.”
Bomberg said there should be a way for individuals to opt out of inclusion in satellite images.
The mansion—famous for its reported 19 bathrooms—is the first home Harry and Meghan bought together after quitting the palace for a new life in California, in 2020.
Their first months in America were spent at Tyler Perry’s house, where paparazzi photographers flew drones overhead, photographing their son Prince Archie playing with Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland in the private grounds.
The images were sold to German magazine Bunte. The couple sued in California and paparazzi agency X17 issued an apology.
In 2019, Harry and Meghan had moved out of Kensington Palace to a house in The Cotswolds, in the English countryside, but their lawyer argued they were forced out of the property when a paparazzi agency Splash took aerial photos using a helicopter.
Gerrard Tyrrell, the royal family’s lawyer, told the High Court in London at the time: “The property had been chosen by the duke for himself and his wife, given the high level of privacy it afforded given its position in a secluded area surrounded by private farmland away from any areas to which photographers have access.
“The helicopter flew over the home at a low altitude, allowing Splash to take photographs of and into the living area and dining area of the home and directly into the bedroom.”
“The syndication and publication of the photographs very seriously undermined the safety and security of the Duke and the home to the extent that they are no longer able to live at the property,” he added.
Splash apologized and agreed to pay costs and damages while a spokesperson quoted in the Daily Telegraph at the time said: “Splash has always recognised that this situation represents an error of judgment and we have taken steps to ensure it will not be repeated.
“We apologize to the Duke and Duchess for the distress we have caused.”
William Brown is Regalrumination.com‘s chief royal correspondent based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @TheCrownUp and read his stories on Regalrumination.com’s The Royals Facebook page.
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