Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Urged to Sue Over Pictures at Restaurant With Eugenie

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have been urged to sue TMZ for publishing paparazzi pictures of a dinner with Princess Eugenie.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were photographed with Harry's cousin and her husband Jack Brooksbank over the weekend at a restaurant in Santa Barbara.

The pictures were released by TMZ on Tuesday and show the two couples arriving and sitting around a table in what appears to be an outside dining area surrounded by see-through plastic screens.

Mark Stephens, a media law specialist at U.K. firm Howard Kennedy, told Newsweek: "They can sue. There was a case where Paul Weller sued. He was sitting outside a restaurant in Santa Monica with his children and he sued for privacy in the U.K.

"They'll sue whoever published them in the U.K., that's for sure. I don't know whether they can get TMZ here, but it will be worth a go."

In 2012, singer-songwriter Weller sued under British privacy laws even though the pictures had been taken in California before being published on the Daily Mail's website. He won a £10,000 ($13,600) payout from Mail publisher Associated Newspapers at the High Court in London.

However, another media expert suggested Meghan and Harry might struggle to win a lawsuit. Professor Tim Luckhurst, principal of South College at Durham University, told Newsweek: "In the circumstances, I don't think they could have any reasonable expectation of privacy.

"If they claim a reasonable expectation of privacy and the shelters or screens around them are transparent, that would strike me as a slightly strange claim. While they may find this intrusive, I think it would be unlikely the claim would succeed."

TMZ credited the Santa Barbara pictures to photo agency Backgrid. Newsweek has contacted TMZ and Backgrid for comment.

The same agency was credited for pictures of the couple at a medical center shortly after Meghan's miscarriage, which were published on the Mail's website in summer 2020, and for a set of images of Meghan picking up Archie from his first day at pre-school, published by Page Six in April 2021.

The dinner was the latest public outing for Harry and Eugenie since the cousins were pictured together at the Super Bowl on February 13.

The princess, the younger of Prince Andrew's two daughters, is the first member of the royal family known to have visited the Sussexes in California since the couple stepped back from royal duties in March 2020.

The fact that Eugenie was still on the West Coast a week after the Super Bowl game in Los Angeles suggests a lengthy visit. Meghan and Harry may even have had the chance to see her baby son August, who turned one on February 9.

The restaurant photos come against the backdrop of a lawsuit filed by Prince Harry against the British government for removing his police security while he is in his home country.

Harry's legal representative has said it is unsafe for the couple and their children, Archie and Lilibet, to return to Britain without Metropolitan Police protection.

Central to the claim is an incident in June 2021, when Harry was followed by paparazzi after leaving a WellChild charity event in London.

The next hearing, at the High Court in London, is scheduled for Friday, February 25.

Meghan and Harry Leaving Restaurant
Harry and Meghan leave Melba's restaurant in Harlem, during their visit to New York on September 24, 2021. Photos of the couple's dinner with Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank in California have been published online. Robert Kamau/GC Images