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Posted at 10:46 AM ET, 01/ 9/2011

A flashback on Kate Middleton's 29th birthday

By Autumn Brewington

Four years ago, photographers were literally lined up outside Kate Middleton's London apartment, as speculation reached fever pitch that Prince William was about to pop the question. The Washington Post reported on the media frenzy in an article headlined "Attention That's Fit for a Queen."

Middleton being hounded by the paparazzi on her birthday in 2007. (Getty)

Photographers' willingness to walk right up to Kate and follow her endlessly prompted a harsh response from the palace, with Prince William in particular concerned that his girlfriend not be hounded the same way his mother, Princess Diana, was. Kate complained, through her lawyers, about media harassment in 2005 and 2007, and last year she won damages over photos taken of her Christmas Day 2009. Several British newspapers committed not to use paparazzi photos of Kate, but the pledge seems to have fallen by the wayside.

In November, the Evening Standard ran an article headlined "Fair game or respect: paparazzi are at odds over pursuing Kate Middleton." That piece quoted the photographer who captured Kate leaving Westminster Abbey ahead of the announcement that her wedding would take place there: "It is a milestone for us because we paid respect and she paid respect to us," he said. "The royal protection officers saw us standing there. She was very happy to be photographed."

But the photograph -- which the article speculated "is likely to make £100,000 for the agency that sold it" -- doesn't indicate, at least to us, that there was any such acknowledgment. It looks like Kate was snapped as she went about her business. The big question, of course, is where's the line on her business vs. what is fairly the public's business when she becomes a member of the royal family.

This is a big reason royal officials have stressed that William and Kate will live like a typical military couple after their April wedding. In the face of intense interest, they are trying to keep their lives as normal, or private, as possible.

By Autumn Brewington  | January 9, 2011; 10:46 AM ET
Categories:  Kate Middleton, Media coverage, Prince William  
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