Alfonso Signorini, editor of Italy’s Chi magazine has defended the publication of 18 pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing topless in a special edition devoting 26 pages to his “exclusive”.
Alfonso Signorini said he has done nothing illegal and he published the 26-page photo feature to show how the royal family in Britain had modernized.
“I published them with a conviction that they are pictures of a modern contemporary duchess,” he told Sky News, which said that off-camera Alfonso Signorini had described her as “resembling a Greek goddess”.
Alfonso Signorini said it was legal in Italy to take photographs on “a public thoroughfare” and the photos could just as easily been taken by a member of the public standing on the road bordering Lord Linley’s Chateau d’Autet.
It has been estimated the photos were all taken from between 400 m and 800 m away, which would have meant a member of the public would have to have been equipped with an expensive long-lens camera.
Chi magazine – like France’s Closer magazine, which caused a furor by publishing photos of Kate topless on Friday – is owned by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s media company Mondadori.
Alfonso Signorini said it was “a very important scoop” for the magazine which rushed out its special edition on Monday, two days ahead of its normal Wednesday publication date.
His defiant comments come as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge press ahead with a criminal complaint in a Paris court.
The royal couple will ask a French judge on Monday afternoon to order Closer magazine to withdraw all copies from sale and remove them from its website.
They are also considering their options including legal action against Chi and the Irish Daily Star, which published the pictures on Saturday causing co-owner Richard Desmond to threaten to close the paper with the loss of up to 70 jobs.
St James’s Palace has not, however, lodged a formal complaint with the Irish Press Council, the newspaper regulator. Its code of practice does not quite ban photos taken in private places, but says they are unacceptable unless justified by the public interest.
Interest in Closer magazine in France rocketed on Friday when news broke that it had published a set of pictures of the royal couple in defiance of privacy laws.
Figures calculated by traffic site Alexa.com shows traffic to Closer‘s website soared by 1600% on Friday, dropping almost as quickly when users realized the photos were not published online.
Lawyers acting for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are making use of France’s strict privacy laws with civil and criminal actions. At the Tribunal de Grand Instance in Nanterre, a suburb of Paris near Closer’s offices, in a court hearing scheduled for late on Monday afternoon, they were seeking an injunction backed by the threat of punitive fines.
The legal action, said St James’s Palace, concerned the “taking of photographs of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge whilst on holiday and the publication of these photos in breach of their privacy”.
It is demanding Closer stop all publication of the images and that the magazine is removed from kiosks and newsagents. The couple will ask for a fine of €100,000 ($130,000) to be imposed for failure to comply with withdrawing the magazine and the same amount for failure to remove the pictures from “any electronic and especially digital means of communication”. A further €100,000 fine is being demanded for the distribution of the photographs to other publications.