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 1971.

    The Simple fact here is that there is no one to blame except the Duchess herself. She is now an international public figure, she should expect paparazzi to follow her everywhere. Not to mention that going topless anywhere besides the bedroom is not very ladylike and definitely not acceptable in a Royal

  • rate this

    Comment number 1970.

    The Royal Family 2013 calendar is going to be a best seller.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1969.

    This is a massive and unacceptable invasion of privacy and I can fully understand the sadness and anger of the Duke and Duchess.
    It is of no surprise that scummy paparazzi have taken these pictures, it is incredible that a publication should have gone ahead with publishing, the editor who green-lit this needs to punished in the most sever terms and the magazine sued as heavily as possible.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1968.

    Kate obviously wanted the world to see her naked. What a shameless publicity-seeker

  • rate this

    Comment number 1967.

    Will the Sun wait a week and publish since by then they will be in the "public domain" i.e. those who want will find them on the web?

  • Comment number 1966.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1965.

    If this were me, and someone had taken pictures of my wife topless and stuck them in a magazine, I would be absolutely livid, and this would be a massive invasion of privacy. Them being Royals doesnt make them "Fair game" to be papped and is massively disrespectful. I think they should take legal action, set an example and take a bif of a stand against this kind of thing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1964.

    Topless photos? I can't imagine there's much to see.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1963.

    Really? This is the top story of the national broadcaster? Everything that's going on in the world right now...and there's a story about a royals breasts. Faith in humanity ended.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1962.

    Exposing naked flesh to the elements of the sun is really harmful for her skin and health. She should cover up or risk having skin cancer later on in life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1961.

    They show topless women in their papers all year long and they feel shocked today as she's a duchesse. Until only a few days ago and for more twenty, some didn't really mind about showing pictures of dying people stuck in a crowd, thinking 'look at these loots and so-called fans'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1960.

    Fair game if Kate gets them out?

    I'm a photographer and if I'd singled out a topless woman on a PUBLIC beach with my camera and long lens I'd get a punch in the face and it would be deserved.

    Singling Kate out in the privacy of her home is even worse. It's the work of a peeping tom. Perverted.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1959.

    What the hell is going on. I dont really give a stuff
    Bu then we have muppets more intrested at the banile Soaps and So called talent shows

    Care more that ROLLS ROYCE manufacturing plant in Asia . Rather then in the UK - More lost jobs.

    I dont think the left should be smarmy either , It was unions who destroyed companies like Leyland with their incessant strikes

  • rate this

    Comment number 1958.

    This whole issue is puerile, I mean, a woman's breasts; ooh! What irks me is that not an eyelid is batted if it's pics of 'ordinary' people with their baps out, but because it's a 'royal', it's somehow thereby disgusting. Why this double standard? Why aren't people kicking up a stink when it's pics of some soap star or whatever? Grow up, ignore it and it won't really matter, will it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1957.

    I for one don't care and don't regard this as important or news worthy

  • rate this

    Comment number 1956.

    I do hope that the Sun or some other tabloid has some embarassing pictures of President Hollandes mistress or kids. Publish them and watch the French squeel!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1955.

    What kind of sick minds have a need for these photos? It's perverted.
    I assume whoever looks at any such photos is happy to have an internet linked camera in every room in their own house as they obviously don't believe that anyone is allowed any privacy.
    "Oh no - that would be disgusting"
    Well so is this hypocrites.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1954.


    "I think most of us would refuse to buy that paper ever again."

    I agree to a point until the above line. The Murdoch press has been shown to be thoroughly dishonest not to mention the way it treats the law and people in general as dog dirt. But people still buy it...

  • rate this

    Comment number 1953.

    I disagree with those who've said it wasn't a public place & she is victimised. How can Brits be expected to keep our private residences safe to protect would-be robbers from potential injury as they break in or be accountable when neighbours complain about nudity they view from private gardens? This is about trying to put on a front like she is a prude & being unhappy when the truth comes out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1952.

    "grotesque" associated with the Dutchess' body is hardly an appropriate description. If I were her I'd sue the Palace for libel and misrepresentation. I wonder who's next for a body frontal among members of the Firm? She of the lived-in face, or perhaps even her significant other? Now that really would be grotesque!


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