THE BLOG
23/07/2013 10:00 BST | Updated 22/09/2013 06:12 BST

Privacy Fit for a Prince?

Well, we Brits have a new addition to our royal family. Waity Katy has put us out of our waiting misery and to the great delight of the waiting media throng, she has delivered to us a new prince. As the British press - and indeed the media worldwide - starts upon what will no doubt be column yards not inches, of royal baby related copy, the young prince may look back upon his time in the womb as the last place that he ever really experienced true privacy.

The British public has an unquenchable thirst for new information about our royals; and about celebrity; and about Joe Public for that matter. That thirst is reflected, and indeed amplified, around the world. Meanwhile, our domestic press revels in serving up gossip and salacious details about the rich and famous while the Internet makes these offerings worldwide at the touch of a button. The phone hacking scandal may have left our British media a little shame faced, but now in the post-Leveson world it seems that the Fleet Street press has a new spring in its step and is once again happy to root out and expose a good scoop. As a result, anyone potentially in the public eye - the Royal family included - is going to have their work cut out if they want to maintain their privacy; prince or pauper alike.

The right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence, guaranteed by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human rights, must be balanced against any other rights at play; for example in media cases, the Article 10 right to free speech. There is an Article 10-infused public interest in knowing of the birth of the new royal baby. And there is an interested public out there, eager for every drop of information that they can glean about the new tot. Indeed, as we clamour to learn about what he looks like - and in due course, what he does, what he likes, his first words, his first day at school, his first girlfriend - his private life may not be his own. Our new British royal has been born into a world where privacy is a valuable but rare commodity. The courts in England and Wales have said that private and confidential information is like an ice-cube; give it to someone who refuses to keep it in the refrigerator and soon it will be nothing more than a pool of water. By applying the blowtorch of the Internet - Facebook, Twitter, social media tools - to the privacy ice-cube, it is at risk of swiftly melting at the turn of a newspaper page or the click of a computer mouse.

Mum and Dad - part of the Twitter-loving, Facebook-friendly, social media engaging generation - will understand the public interest in their little prince charming and one suspects will be prepared to share some of his special moments with the world at large. But they will be equally keen to protect their little one from the preying eyes of the media so that he can safeguard some vestige of a private life. They know only too well that privacy is a fragile thing. After all, it was worldwide news that the Duchess' privacy was invaded when sunbathing topless on private property, with long-lens captured photographs published without authority in a French celebrity magazine; and the very fact of the royal pregnancy was leaked when Australian radio presenters called the hospital where Kate had been admitted suffering from severe morning sickness.

Unlike most of the babies born on 22 July 2013, the Prince of Cambridge has been born with a silver spoon in his mouth and with a barrage of cameras in his face. His arrival will be heralded with gun salutes from the Tower of London. Almost as loud will be the flashes of the countless cameras and the roars from the assembled crowd when the Duke and Duchess parade their prince on the hospital steps for what is likely to be the first of many official photo calls. But only time will tell whether the prince will become a constant feature on the pages of the national newspapers like Diana, the grandmother he never met, or whether the four hours of private bonding that his privacy conscious parents were able to grab after his birth, before announcing him to the waiting world, were the last private moments that this little prince will ever be able to enjoy.