Kate and William angered by 'grotesque' invasion of privacy


Kate and William have launched legal action against the publication of topless pictures of the duchess, Clarence House has said.

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are hugely saddened over the "grotesque and unjustifiable invasion of privacy" by a magazine which published topless photos of Kate, a royal spokesman says.

French publication Closer printed the pictures of the duchess, taken during their private holiday in France.

The royals are now considering legal action over the case.

Closer's editor says the couple were "visible from the street" and the images are "not in the least shocking".

The BBC's Nicholas Witchell said that the royals were "incredulous that any magazine would have felt they had a justification in publishing these pictures".

"They could go to law or seek a remedy through the French court - that is a big step to take but that is clearly what is being considered now," he said.

Closer French publication Closer printed the pictures of the duchess

"I have rarely heard quite such a level of publicly expressed anger that I have heard today reflecting William's feelings.

"He is absolutely determined to protect the privacy of his wife; he has always been very protective of her and that anger has mounted during the day."

Our correspondent said that the prince had a "look of absolute thunder" on his face as they left Kuala Lumpur - a stop on their nine-day tour of South East Asia - to travel to Sabah in north Borneo.

Kate, meanwhile, "looked composed and was smiling", he said.

Closer editor Laurence Pieau said: "These photos are not in the least shocking. They show a young woman sunbathing topless, like the millions of women you see on beaches."

She described the reaction as "a little disproportionate".

"What we saw in the pictures was a young couple that have just got married, who are in love, who are beautiful. She's a princess of the 21st Century," said Pieau.

"They [the couple] are on the terrace of a mansion in the south of France which is not far from a road along which cars pass without any problem. They are visible from the street."

The photos look blurry, the BBC's Paris bureau said. There are four pages of photos of the couple, with Kate topless in several.

Start Quote

"A red line has been crossed" according to palace officials. The gloves, it would seem, are off”

End Quote Luisa Baldini Royal correspondent, BBC News

On the magazine's website, it says the pictures are of the couple "like you have never seen them before. Gone are the fixed smiles and the demure dresses. On holiday Kate forgets everything."

The duke and duchess, who were staying at the French chateau of the Queen's nephew, Lord Linley, "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 spokesman for Clarence House, the Prince of Wales's office, said.

"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.

"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.

"Officials acting on behalf of their Royal Highnesses are consulting with lawyers to consider what options may be available to the duke and duchess."

The prime minister's official spokesman said: "The view from Downing Street is that they are entitled to their privacy."

The royal couple were told about the magazine's plan to publish the photos during breakfast in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on their tour to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. They are now on their way to north Borneo, where they are due to visit a rainforest.


In France they will tell you privacy laws that govern the press are much tighter than they are in the UK. It's only half of the truth.

While the French are sniffy about the tabloid culture in Britain many celebrity magazines have been publishing these kind of pictures for years.

France is the home of one of the oldest 'celebrity' magazines in the world - Paris Match.

But these days there are raunchier titles, like Closer, who unashamedly indulge in the celebrity gossip.

And they budget for the legal payouts which in this case are seemingly inevitable.

But for editors the fine is worth the risk.

Read more from Christian Fraser

It has emerged that British newspapers were offered photographs last week but turned them down.

The Sun's editor Dominic Mohan said the newspaper had no intention of breaching the couple's privacy by publishing what he described as "intrusive" pictures.

"The circumstances are very different to those relating to the photos of Prince Harry in Las Vegas. As we said at the time, he was at a party in a hotel suite with a large group of strangers and one of those present released a photograph into the public domain," he said.

The Sun was the only British newspaper to print the naked pictures of Prince Harry, defying a warning by Clarence House that they breached his privacy.

The Press Complaints Commission said it received hundreds of complaints from members of the public but did not act because it had not been contacted by representatives of the prince.

Lloyd Embley, editor of the Mirror and Sunday Mirror, said the papers were offered a set of pictures of the duchess in her bikini a week ago but, as with the pictures of Harry, they took the decision not to publish them.

In both cases they believed it would be a clear breach of the editors' code of practice involving breach of privacy.

Closer is not run by the same company as the British title; it is administered by Italian business Mondadori, owned by former president Silvio Berlusconi's holding company Fininvest.

A statement from the UK magazine said: "We were not offered any pictures of this nature and have no intention of publishing the photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge which have been published this morning."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 2031.

    @2000 Maroon - good one!

  • rate this

    Comment number 2030.

    It is about time that those that are titillated by a telephoto piccy of a woman's breasts...should really grow up!

    Like kids peeking through the bathroom keyhole to watch big sis shave her legs...giggle! giggle! giggle!...how depressingly banal!

    As for the Sun...not even fit for lavy paper back-up!
    As for this dubious magazine...obviously the epitome of intellectuality...bin it...simples!

  • rate this

    Comment number 2029.

    The Royal Family are when it suits them the biggest manipulators of the press in the world. When there is potential bad press about them they use all of their powers to suppress it. Powers that the average person in the street can only dream about.
    It's funny but I have never heard the Royals complain when pictures of other famous women have been photographed topless for all to see.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2028.

    You would have thought the French would know better after the damage they have done to this family already! They really are beyond a joke. Kate was on a private holiday in a private home with her husband ... for crying out loud paparazzi give them a break ... if any UK publisher is brave enough to print/issue the pictures they should be run out of town ... it's that simple

  • rate this

    Comment number 2027.

    But is it not a questionable BBC editorial decision that we can have HYS on someone's Charlies but not about Hillsborough or the murder of US Embassy staff?"

    Do you think anyone is going to publicly defend the murder of US Embassy staff or the censoring of police evidence at Hillsborough, then?

  • rate this

    Comment number 2026.

    Next time, Harry should take the Duke of Edinburgh with him armed with hunting rifle.

    "Grandapa - when I said shoot the frog, I meant that one over there in the pond not that one up the tree!".

    Seriously though, topless photos are no big deal these days, but spying on people in their gardens is absolutely disgusting and its about time we made an example of all involved.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2025.

    Does it matter whether this was the Royals or any individual seeking to enjoy a private holiday having taken reasonable measures to ensure their privacy?

    The term Peeping Tom still applies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2024.

    This still open? Anyone would think it was a slow news day!

  • rate this

    Comment number 2023.

    After the Paparazzi killed Diana the french have not learned anything of morals in press. This just goes to show never trust them, holiday in another country. In my book doing a thing like this is invasion of privacy and I'm a press photographer. In 40 years as a photographer i always ask permission and have a good understanding of decency. These are the gutter of the profession.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2022.

    In the old days of course we'd have sent in the gun boat....

    Those French paparrazi need to understand that we used to run the world and if they're not careful, we will again!

  • rate this

    Comment number 2021.

    The fact that UK publications have all rejected printing these pictures, I am really intrigued how The Sun thought a naked picture of Prince Harry in a private hotel room was ok to print but a naked picture of the Duchess in a private residence should not be printed.
    I think it shows how wrong the pictures of Prince Harry were and The Sun knows it and has indirectly admitted it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 2020.

    I have been with a number of ex-pat friends today. All are stunned that some scum have bothered to take these photos. Maybe cameras in the royal toilets is the next move where these rubbish individuals will work. This couple are visiting the country where I now live & making a hugely successful impression. They are brilliant. Editors, don't let the paparazzi rubbish ruin their lives and work.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2019.

    "These photos are not in the least shocking," said Laurence Pieau. "They show a young woman sunbathing topless, like the millions of women you see on beaches''

    Except she WASN'T on a beach was she?? She was in the grounds of a private chateau, out of the public eye, on holiday with her husband being stalked and spied on by paparazzi. The 'shocking' thing is that you think it's ok! Sleep well.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2018.

    Put it another way, how would you feel if a stalking pervert with a camera took pics of members of your family naked and then get off on them? Then degrade you worse and sell the pics to other like minded peeping toms?

    True there's a market, but perpetrators caught end up in prison and put on some weirdo register.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2017.

    How come the Sun has not published the pics yet?

    Surely this is just as much "in the public interest" as Prince Harry's were.

    Don't tell me they realise they were wrong about that one!!

    Doubt if they will publish an apology.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2016.

    How do you know she was standing topless at a window? She could have been sunbathing - in any event the the place is in the middle of nowhere and the poor lassie would have thought herself totally safe from cameras (as would Fergie by the way many moons ago when the used telescopic lens of her by the pool with a male friend) Obviously not a shred f decency in the perpetrator

  • rate this

    Comment number 2015.


    Taking photos of a woman on private property against her will. Why isn't this a sex offence?

    Well it happend in France and the pics were published there so UK law doesn't apply. It still wouldnt' be a sexual offence - if someone poses topless in view of others then standard photography rights apply. if you are visible from a public place, you are not in a private one.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2014.

    Just because they are in the public eye does that mean they can't have a private life? I'm not a royalist, but I believe people have the GOD GIVEN RIGHT TO PRIVACY! Stop slagging these people off, stop taking pictures of young woman with their tops off....start report on things that are actually important to the world rather than a pair of royal boobs!.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2013.

    Hope they are sued to bankruptcy myself - this is our future queen - stupid people. Hardly in the public interest. Feel furious!

  • rate this

    Comment number 2012.

    Do away with the ridiculous anachronism that is the Royal Family - no Royals to photograph, problem solved.

    I've actually found these scandals sickening not (solely) due to the invasion of privacy, but because they've shown there are still people in Britain who think the royals are inherently "better" than them. They aren't. Most merely had the fortune to pass through the right birth canal.


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