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 2111.

    It makes your blood boil. It's a form of rape. A woman has been exploited, for profit and publicity by a magazine that cares nothing that she gets hurt. I hope this repulsive French publication is sued to oblivion.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2110.

    Harry had the right idea - Ignore the whole thing and get on with life.

    & get sent to Afganistan till it blows over

  • rate this

    Comment number 2109.

    100% agree.
    I hope that anyone who complains about their privacy being breached doesn't buy Okay, Hello, Closer etc etc

  • rate this

    Comment number 2108.

    The paparazzi will continue to take and publish pictures of this nature .....

    Hahaha, I made the editor's picks - even though the BBC is also wholly guilty of fuelling the public appetite for cheap reality TV & celebrity titillation (no pun intended ;-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 2107.


  • rate this

    Comment number 2106.

    When they held a multi-million dollar, publicly funded wedding in the streets of London and broadcasted it to the entire world as if it were something incredibly important, that's when they signed over their privacy.

    How about my privacy? I had to open the news for an entire six months last year to be faced with their smarmy pictures and lame expressions.

    They brought this on themselves...

  • rate this

    Comment number 2105.

    I feel sorry for these paparazzis and especially for Closer who think an image of a pair of tits is "shocking" (???).. Seriously, under what stone have they been hiding all their sad, pathetic life???

  • rate this

    Comment number 2104.

    And the wheel turns once more.
    The way to stop this is for the scumbags to not have their "product" bought by anyone - not that will happen of course.

    Supply and demand sadly; except, in this case is mings tae high heaven! A sad reflection on the immorality of the lowest common denominator which seems so prevalent - lets make lots of money and damn the consequences .

  • Comment number 2103.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 2102.

    If people feel really strongly about this maybe we should retaliate by not selling the French (and the German Govt) BAE next month. Now that would make a good story to comment on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2101.

    I don't understand why it is in anyway acceptable to take photos of someone who half naked without their permission. If I were to do this on a beach I would be rightly called a voyeuristic pervert. Just because the subject is famous this basic morality should not change.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2100.

    Very naive as has been suggested by other posters, but an unfortunate side affect of being in the public limelight. Agree that best way to deal with it is to simple. Disagree however that it isn't in the public interest, which is different to public benefit. If enough of the public are interested in buying the magazine then clearly it is in the public interest rightly or wrongly.

  • Comment number 2099.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 2098.

    Would people have reacted this way if the topless girl in question was a TV/Film/Music star? No, it would be "par for the course". I can understand the royals being outraged but can't understand this ridiculous public over-reaction over what is a commonplace occurrence in these trashy celebrity rags. What makes Kate's right to privacy more valid than any other individual pictured in these mags?

  • Comment number 2097.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 2096.

    At the outset i will say i like many despise all this Voyeuristic, reality tv, celeb exclusive etc culture we live in.

    However it is here and those in spotlight have to live with it.

    Where was the Royal Protection squad?

    However at end of day her breasts were photographed thats it, womens breasts are there to feed the infant, any other 'significance' put upon them is of societys making.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2095.

    The answer to all this is quite simple. Stop buying this stuff. The French red-tops and gutter magazines are at fault here, but ours are no better really. We collectively have the media we deserve. If we didn't consume this sort of egregious rubbish across Europe, it wouldn't be economically sustainable. So do your bit, and ensure that you all only buy quality media from now on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2094.

    bbc mad i called their 'royal' titties just 'titties'. 1776 still hurt?

  • rate this

    Comment number 2093.

    It's hardly grotesque, that's a great overreaction. I don't know what the Prince and Princess expect. They represent us abroad and people are going to take pictures of them. That is a fact. If she doesn't want topless pictures of herself, then she shouldn't take her top off. She gave up privacy when she joined the Royal family.

    Seriously, is there nothing else happening in the world right now?

  • rate this

    Comment number 2092.

    I totally agree with happypam, I for one don't buy such trash.


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