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 2191.

    I believe Laurence Pieau should be looking carefully over her shoulder. MI6 can be very persuasive.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2190.

    Anbody got any dirt on Laurence Pieu from Closer? It would be poetic justice if the british red tops got their claws into him.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2189.

    So a woman sunbathes topless around the Mediterranean – so what?

    Most photographers, all journalists and some commentators need to get their hands and brains out of their pockets and – GROW UP.

    And for the “Palace” to complain in this way about a photo only suggests motives far beyond the “red line”.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2188.

    I like the way the BBC don't provide any blog on Hillsborough yesterday but want to know something about some idiot being topless"

    Do you think there would have been anyone seriously defending the behaviour of the police and authorities at Hillsborough, then?

  • rate this

    Comment number 2187.

    Why is it so difficult for the media to distinguish between an acceptable photo opportunity and invasion of privacy? It's very simple:

    Out in a public place (street/shop/restaurant etc) - acceptable photo opportunity...although still the right balance to be had with regard to harassment.

    In a private house/building/room/grounds not on any sort of official business - invasion of privacy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2186.

    At last a bit of value for money from the royals. Good to see Kate behaving like a page 3 girl, earning her living for a change, rather than doing nothing worthwhile. The royals are generally just a bunch of scroungers however Kate has more class.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2185.

    We are all born naked!

  • rate this

    Comment number 2184.

    Perhaps we should get a lynch mob together and storm and set fire to the French embassy! :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 2183.

    I quite like the Royal family, but have to agree with some on here. If you are a celebrity or member of the Royal family, you must expect to be photographed wherever you go, so don't go topless or get your bits out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2182.

    The French attittude to nudity is not the issue. Any feeling of freedom would dissolve if someone was taking photos of their naked bodies from a hiding point 200 metres away!
    I'm a regular naked bather so not lacking body confidence but I would feel violated by this.If people want to bang an Anti-British drum then fine but don't pretend the French would alll happily accept such an intrusion.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2181.

    If you are stupid enough to pose topless then you can assume some magazine editor would be stupid enough to publish the photographs. I am only shocked that they are shocked!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 2180.

    I don't get how this is "in the public interest". I am a member of the public and I couldn't care less. Why is drivel like this the top story on the news? Could we all please, like William and Kate should, ignore this nonsense and focus on the REAL news?

  • rate this

    Comment number 2179.

    Well I guess they won't be going to France any time soon.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2178.

    Another case of confusing "What's in the public interest" with "What the public is interested in". Why does anyone even care? Get lives!

  • rate this

    Comment number 2177.

    @ Regan 400: This is the reason newspaper sales are declining. The media today is full of garbage news and reality crap. Common decency is non-existant anymore. People should remember they may wake up one morning to see themselves or a daughter or son in those type of pictures. I bet they wont see it your way then cos as you said you would have brought it on yourself.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2176.

    British tabloids will denounce this, but how many of them are planning on giving away French flags and matches tomorrow?

    It'll add fuel to the press regulation debate and, sadly, it'll probably have more impact on it than phone-hacking did. This is an invasion of privacy, yes, but it should be ignored. All the coverage has done is increased the market for more in the future...

  • rate this

    Comment number 2175.

    The problem here is this concept of PUBLIC INTEREST. People are instinctively interested in sex, therefore a different criterion should be set to how far journalists can go. I suggest replacing PUBLIC INTEREST with PUBLIC CONCERN. Kates private parts may be of PUBLIC INTEREST but no way are they of PUBLIC CONCERN

  • rate this

    Comment number 2174.

    I like the way the BBC don't provide any blog on Hillsborough yesterday but want to know something about some idiot being topless

  • rate this

    Comment number 2173.

    beth wales

    - where was their security team?

    I think Mossad were very busy on that day Beth!

  • rate this

    Comment number 2172.

    Even people who cultivate their public image deserve some private space, but it is hard to control these things.The international interest in the Royals mean there will always be someone looking to make a quick buck for something original, always someone, somewhere, who will be prepared to pay for it and sooner or later it will be available for free on the Internet.


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