Kate topless photos: Lawyers for the royal couple make criminal complaint to a French prosecutor
Lawyers for Prince William and Duchess of Cambridge are to make a criminal complaint to a French prosecutor over topless photographs of the duchess.
The images have appeared in French magazine Closer and the Irish Daily Star. An Italian magazine has said it also plans to print the photographs.
St James’s Palace say the couple’s legal team will also seek damages.
It comes as the royal couple visit the Solomon Islands as part of a tour of south-east Asia and the South Pacific.
The royal couple looked relaxed and happy as they arrived on the island as part of their nine-day tour as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
They received a cheerful welcome as they were driven along streets lined with thousands of people.
The co-owners of an Irish tabloid daily which also published the shots have condemned the decision to print.
The royal couple is to sue French magazine Closer, which is run by a different company from the British version, for invasion of privacy.
Closer magazine has defended its decision to publish the photographs, saying: “The photos we selected are by no means degrading.
“They show a young couple on vacation, beautiful, loving, modern in their normal life.”
A spokesman for St James’s Palace said official legal proceedings would begin on Monday in Paris when papers were served.
St James’s Palace is making efforts with the French to identify the paparazzi photographer involved.
There were no immediate plans to pursue action against the Italian magazine or the Irish Newspaper that have also circulated the pictures but said sources had said all options remained open.
Solicitor Mark Stephens, who specializes in intellectual property rights and human rights, said the photographer would have broken the law to take the photographs.
“Unless they’ve driven a motorway through the 648 acres, you’ll find that the property [where the duchess was] is at the centre of that location and it’s surrounded by hills, so I’m certainly advised that without trespassing – that is without committing an offence – you cannot take the photographs that were taken of the duchess.”
He added: “There is no doubt here that the princess had an absolute expectation of privacy and that these photographs should never have been taken, could not have been taken without breaking the law, and should never have been published.”
Former Prime Minister Sir John Major told said the photographer’s actions were those of a “peeping Tom” and a boundary had “plainly been crossed”.
“The way [these photographs] have been obtained is tasteless. It is the action of a peeping Tom. In our country we prosecute peeping Toms. That’s exactly what they have done and they have been peeping with long lenses from a long way away. They’re very distasteful.”
He praised the British press for not publishing the photographs, which were taken from a road some distance from the French chateau where the duke and duchess were staying for a short break.
Chi, the Italian magazine, said it would print a special 26-page edition featuring the photographs on Monday.
Closer, the French magazine which first published the photographs, and Chi are both part of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Mondadori media group.
Editor Alfonso Signorini said: “The fact that these are the future rulers of England makes the article more interesting and topical.
“This is a deserving topic because it shows in a completely natural way the daily life of a very famous, young and modern couple in love.”
In 2006 the gossip weekly controversially printed photographs of a dying Princess Diana after the 1997 Paris car crash which took her life.
Parallels have been drawn between the press intrusion into the life of the duke’s mother and the current intense media interest in his wife.
“The incident is reminiscent of the worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, and all the more upsetting to the duke and duchess for being so,” according to a spokesman for Clarence House, the Prince of Wales’s office.
Northern and Shell and Independent News and Media, the owners of the Irish Daily Star which printed the pictures on Saturday in its Republic of Ireland edition, condemned the decision and said they had had no prior knowledge of it.
Northern and Shell said it had no editorial control over the Republic of Ireland-based newspaper and was consulting lawyers “as a matter of urgency”, over what it believed to be “a serious breach of their contract”.
Chairman Richard Desmond said: “I am very angry at the decision to publish these photographs and am taking immediate steps to close down the joint venture.”
Independent News and Media said it too had not known the pictures were to be published, calling the decision “regrettable and in poor taste.”
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