On Friday, the U.K. newspaper The Sun reported that people living near the Duke and Duchess’ neighbors Frogmore Cottage home, which include members of the royal staff, attended a recent residents’ meeting and there, they were informed not to approach or speak to the couple, not to touch their dogs, and not ask to see their baby boy Archie or offer to babysit him.
“The Duke and Duchess didn’t request this, didn’t know about it, and had nothing to do with the content or guidance offered,” a Buckingham Palace spokesperson told HELLO! magazine.
The Sun reported that Buckingham Palace said the requests had come from an “overly protective palace official,” without Harry and Meghan’s knowledge.
The report comes amid public criticism of the couple’s actions to maintain privacy as royals significantly funded by U.K. taxpayers. In recent months, they have come under fire for refusing to make a public appearance outside the hospital following Archie’s birth and choosing a private photo op instead, not allowing reporters to take candid photos of them at the child’s christening and taking too long to share clear images of the baby’s face.
The denial also comes months following media reports about Meghan’s alleged “difficult” behavior towards staff, and her estranged father’s accusation that she is “controlling.” Fans of the duchess have come to her defense amid such coverage, and Oprah Winfrey has said she thinks Meghan is “being portrayed unfairly.”
Earlier this year, Meghan and Harry moved away from Kensington Palace, where they were neighbors with his brother Prince William, Kate Middleton, and their kids, and into a now-renovated Frogmore Cottage at Windsor Castle. Which their new official residence is there, their business affairs are conducted at Buckingham Palace, the primary home of the princes’ grandmother Queen Elizabeth II.
Meghan and Harry have been trying to blaze their own trail as a royal couple. This past spring, they were granted their own separate royal household—with a new Instagram account to boot. In March, the Sunday Times reported that the Sussexes had originally lobbied for an autonomous new court, and to have their household be “entirely independent of Buckingham Palace,” but the queen and Harry’s father Prince Charles vetoed the request.