Kate topless photos: Italian magazine plans to publish


Media consultant David Laws and PR consultant Max Clifford on the ramifications of publishing the photos

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The Italian gossip magazine Chi has said it plans to publish photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing topless in a special issue next week.

St James's Palace said on Friday it was suing the publishers of French magazine Closer which printed the pictures.

Closer and Chi are both part of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Mondadori media group.

No UK titles have published the photos, and the Daily Mail said papers in London had been offered similar images.

Chi's editor Alfonso Signorini said: "The fact that these are the future rulers of England makes the article more interesting and topical.

"This is a deserving topic because it shows in a completely natural way the daily life of a very famous, young and modern couple in love," he said.

A royal spokesman described the photographs on Friday as a "grotesque invasion of privacy".

British newspapers were quick to condemn foreign titles that have published or plan to publish the pictures.

The Daily Mail, which revealed it had been offered pictures of the duchess, said that to have used them would have been a blatant breach of the editors' code of practice.

After the anger and the hurt comes rare royal action.

On Monday a judge in Paris will be asked to grant an injunction preventing Closer magazine in France using these topless images again.

At a future hearing, the duke and the duchess will seek damages for breach of privacy.

But, of course, any injunction would only affect the French publication - it would have no impact on other magazines, in other countries, deciding to follow suit.

Royal officials have decided they will deal with each case as and when, and if, they arise.

What they call a "grotesque" intrusion has dominated the thoughts of William and Kate. They're trying to ensure it won't dominate the rest of their tour, which will take them from the Malaysian part of Borneo to the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.

As Prince William, with his wife by his side, represents his grandmother in the coming days - he'll be relieved he's now taking a stand.

'Expectation of privacy'

The Times said that among the reasons no British newspaper had leaped to reproduce the pictures is that the British public would not forgive any newspaper that did so.

The Sun told its readers in an editorial that it would not be publishing the pictures, which it said "no decent British paper would touch with a bargepole".

It explained that, although it had recently published pictures of Prince Harry naked, this was a different situation, because the duchess had every expectation of privacy as she was on a private holiday in a private chateau as opposed to inviting strangers to a hotel suite.

"Nor is there the slightest public interest in publishing this set of intimate pictures in such circumstances," it added.

The Daily Mirror noted that the pictures were published by an officially regulated French press - whereas the self-regulated British press had not published them.

Closer, a celebrity gossip magazine, printed pictures of the duchess taken during the couple's private holiday in France.

A royal spokesman said the legal proceedings had been launched in France and were for breach of privacy.

Closer's editor said the couple were "visible from the street".

France has some of the world's strictest privacy laws but legal experts have suggested the magazine was likely to have weighed up the potential cost of a fine before publishing.

Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge in Malaysia Large crowds turned out to see the royal couple in Malaysia

A spokesman for the duke and duchess strongly condemned publication of the pictures.

The couple were staying at the French chateau of the Queen's nephew, Lord Linley, when the photos were taken.

William and Catherine are currently on an official tour of South East Asia and the South Pacific to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

The couple spent Friday in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur where they started the day with a visit to a mosque for the first time.

They later left the mainland and flew to Kota Kinabalu, capital of the state of Sabah on Borneo, where they are visiting the Danum Valley Research Center to learn about rainforest wildlife.

Closer is not run by the same company as the British title.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 904.

    I think the Duchess of Cambridge has learnt a valuable lesson about the media and the sleazy trash they are prepared to print.
    These pictures are not in the 'public interest' and should never have been taken.
    The world of internet and social media means this type of event may occur. The law has not yet caught up with rapid advances in technology and will have to catch up.

  • rate this

    Comment number 805.

    There's a difference between Kate's and Harry's cases. I'm not condoning the publication of photos in either case, but as a key representative of his country, the public had a right to know that Harry's behaviour behind closed-doors makes him an inappropriate role model. However, a "right to know" is not the same as a right to ogle. Meanwhile, the pictures of Kate are a pure invasion of privacy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 513.

    Sorry but she walked into that one. She just gave the media the golden opportunity they were looking for. How naive can you be thinking that it’s a private chateau therefore the media won’t try it. And now people blathering about privacy... oh please!

  • rate this

    Comment number 494.

    It does not matter who the person is, every person has the right to privacy. If I were in the same situation, I too would sue. The said photos are not interesting or topical - they are making loads and loads of money for the photographer and the magazine; pure and simple greed at the end of the day.

  • rate this

    Comment number 445.

    No matter whether she is the future Queen or not she has the right to her privacy. This is the 21st century and I for one have no issue with my future Queen bathing topless in the privacy of a family friends house. I could understand if she bathing topless in full view of everyone but the pap who took this photo was using one of the strongest zoom lenses possible to get these pics.


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