Prince William, Kate to sue French magazine over topless photographs
French magazine ‘Closer’ unleashed a new media tornado on Britain’s royal family with a five-page splash of photos showing the Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing topless in the south of France.
‘Closer’, a weekly round-up of celebrity gossip, ran a dozen shots of the Duchess, Kate Middleton, as she slipped off her bikini top, relaxed on a sun lounger and at one point pulled down the back of her bikini bottoms as William rubbed sun cream on her.
Under the headline “Oh my God!,” the photos show the couple — whose regal yet natural conduct since their April wedding has won them fans worldwide — soaking up the sun on the balcony of a 19th century hunting lodge, oblivious to lurking paparazzi.
The spread is a blow to Buckingham Palace as it tries to move on from a scandal over naked shots of Prince Harry that tarred an image bolstered by Kate and William’s wedding, the Queen’s 2012 Diamond Jubilee and her Olympic Games appearance.
While ‘Closer’ defended its decision to publish the photographs, a royal spokesperson called it a grotesque move that had upset the royal couple, currently touring southeast Asia, and said Buckingham Palace was consulting lawyers.
“Their Royal Highnesses have been hugely saddened to learn that a French publication and a photographer have invaded their privacy in such a grotesque and totally unjustifiable manner,” a spokesperson for St James’ Palace said.
“Their Royal Highnesses had every expectation of privacy in the remote house. It is unthinkable that anyone should take such photographs, let alone publish them.”
Closer’s editor-in-chief, Laurence Pieau, described the photos as a “beautiful series” that showed a couple in love and were in no way degrading. She said the magazine had more intimate shots from the same series that it opted not to publish.
“There’s been an over-reaction to these photos. What we see is a young couple, who just got married, who are very much in love, who are splendid,” Pieau told French BFM television.
“She’s a real 21st Century princess,” she added: “It’s a young woman who is topless, the same as you can see on any beach in France or around the world”.
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