The Duchess of York has had a laptop stolen that contained ‘intimate' family photos.
The computer is understood to have been taken to the Black Cat Sound and Vision studio in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, by an aide to Sarah Ferguson so that the pictures could be downloaded and archived.
The Daily Mail reported that it was stolen a week ago and police believe that the thieves are unlikely to have known the Duchess' laptop was on the premises when they broke in and took it.
A source close to the Duchess confirmed that it included images of Prince Andrew and the couple's two daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.
A source said: “The photographs are of a sensitive nature so she can't just take them along to her local shop to be printed. It's just a dreadful coincidence that the laptop was there when the premises were robbed.”
Michael Callahan, Credant's senior vice president and chief marketing officer called it a ‘severe privacy invasion that simply should not have happened'.
He said: “Given the fact that the Royal Family was involved with the pictures held on this laptop, the data should have been encrypted - full stop.
“Even if the pictures couldn't have been securely emailed, an encrypted CD-ROM or USB stick is a pretty standard format in most firms these days, so it beggars belief that the Royal Family's security staff - who are supposedly drawn from the upper echelons of the Police and UK Security Services – didn't pick up on the need for IT security on the photos.
“Unconfirmed reports suggest that the laptop was password protected, but gaining access to the data on the machine's hard disk is child's play to anyone used to dealing with computer hardware.”