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 2311.

    Absolutely disgusted - Kate and William were on private property within a private garden, not lying on a public beach. They provide more than enough legitimate press opportunities. This sort of hounding should be stopped before it becomes 'acceptable' as it did with Diana.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2310.

    If someone was leering through the window at any other young woman, taking pictures and then sending them on to the internet/magazines/wherever, they would be labelled a pervert. Just because she's a publicly known figure, does not mean she has no right to privacy and respect.
    It's not as if she was wandering naked down a crowded street.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2309.

    This is getting absolutely stupid. The press/paparazzi hounded Williams mother Diana to death and now starting on this lovely couple. The Royal family need to do something about this. We as the public do not want to see or know of their private lives, for goodness sake let them live as normal a life as is possible. I think it it absulutely disgraceful that they are aloud to get away with it.

  • Comment number 2308.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 2307.

    Disgusted with pictures being taken, surely Kate and William don't deserve this kind of treatment.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2306.

    If I was discovered taking a photograph of a topless women, without her consent, I would be prosecuted (for the record, I would never do this). The paparazzi get paid for doing the same thing. What makes them so special?

  • rate this

    Comment number 2305.

    William's mother was pursued to her death by French papparazi. What crass, insensitive, money-grubbing, self centred scoundrels would subject his new wife to this?

  • rate this

    Comment number 2304.

    Am I the only person who thinks the Duchess was pretty naive to believe she could sunbathe topless and not risk being photographed. Poor judgement on her part, and not quite what you would expect from a future queen. I don't agree with the invasion of their privacy during any of their many holidays but maybe next time the top should stay on!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 2303.

    I think it's quite simple. These would not be published in the UK because they were taken "long-lens" on private property (with no public interest defence). Proof you cannot get the same degree of privacy in France as you can in the UK. So don't go to France! The Duke and Duchess should tell everyone that they're not going to France anymore, then advise everyone else to boycott the place.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2302.

    It is staggering that this piece of utter trivia has attracted over 2200 mostly indignant comments. This is not a news story - the BBC is just as culpable as the red tops in supporting celebrity culture.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2301.

    Not here to offend anyone, but with a girl that has close to zero heart in the eyes, close to zero inch on the torso, I promise you very few people will look at her here in France. People resurrecting the late Princess of Wales in their mind are unfortunately wrong, and Kate will prove being a bad choice to have been made for Prince William.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2300.

    Surely it's photos of a topless Kate, rather than topless photos of Kate?

  • rate this

    Comment number 2299.

    I’m sorry but anyone in the public eye as much as them should expect this. William and Harry of all people know what the press are like, especially after having lost their mother.
    Wake up Royals!! If you don’t want photos of you taken topless or in a hotel room in Vegas - then don’t go topless or misbehave. Simple.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2298.

    'He is absolutely determined to protect the privacy of his wife'. Joke of the year. Is that why he left her topless? Didn't this shameless couple know of snappers and cameras and long lens?

  • rate this

    Comment number 2297.

    Nicholas Witchell is not qualified to talk about the Royals. They have nothing but contempt for him. Why is he continuing to discuss them like he's an "insider", did he never learn to walk away from a place he is most unwelcome?
    As for topless Kate, there is huge demand for such pictures. Closer will do the best business they have ever done with this, Royal security has to be tighter, sad but true

  • rate this

    Comment number 2296.

    I'm afraid her fate is sealed. Her only choices are to remain in that fishbowl known as the British Monarchy, or run as far away as she can, as quickly as she can. But then she'll always be "that girl" who couldn't cope with the decisions she made and she'll be pursued relentlessly for that. Really, did she expect to make it through life without incidents such as this?

  • rate this

    Comment number 2295.

    Many seem to be mixing up the royals with simple celebrity personas. They are and always will be in the public eye, it is their job and their life. They have no choice. However, they also deserve, from time to time a holiday in peace and privacy. Something you and I take for granted. The paporazzi are doing their best to destroy what little privacy they get. It is outrageous.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2294.

    Freedom of the press should not include these insulting intrusions. When it happens to journalists they get very freaked out. Someone who cares about privacy and who has money can easily find this editor and subject her and her family to the same treatment. The royals may sue, and good luck. But someone else will retaliate. Treat the media the way they treat us - with contempt.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2293.

    An unfortunate consequence of becoming a symbol of something good in the eyes of the public is that there are always those who secretly delight in tearing them down. I regard this as little more than lurid and opportunistic so-called journalism at its very worst. I was also pleased to see UK papers refusing to run the pictures; whether true professionalism/fear of public backlash remains to seen.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2292.

    would you like some fish with that chip...?


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