Kate and William to make criminal complaint over topless shots

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Media captionThe royal couple have continued their visit to the Solomon Islands

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are to make a criminal complaint against the photographer who took topless pictures of the duchess.

The couple's lawyers will make the complaint to French prosecutors on Monday, St James's Palace has said.

The images have appeared in French magazine Closer and the Irish Daily Star. An Italian magazine has said it also plans to print the photographs.

The pair are in the Solomon Islands on their Asian and Pacific tour.

A palace spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that a criminal complaint is to be made to the French Prosecution Department."

"It concerns the taking of photographs of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge whilst on holiday and the publication of those photographs in breach of their privacy."

The couple's legal team will also attend the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Nanterre in Paris on Monday, where damages and an injunction will be sought regarding Closer magazine.

The legal action also aims to prevent further publication of the images.

Closer magazine has defended its decision to publish, saying: "The photos we selected are by no means degrading."

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Media captionSir John Major, a former guardian of Prince William, says it is right to pursue legal action

The co-owners of the Irish Daily Star - which also published the photos - condemned the decision to print.

Prince William and Catherine were welcomed with traditional garlands when they arrived in the Soloman Islands on Sunday, on the latest part of their Diamond Jubilee tour of the Far East and South Pacific.

Thousands of islanders cheered the couple as they travelled through the streets of the capital Honiara in a truck decorated as canoe.

The duke and duchess wore traditional dress at the home of Governor General Frank Kabui and posed for photographs at a state dinner where William tried the local dialect to thank the islands for being a place of such tranquility.

Earlier, they attended a service of thanksgiving for the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen who is the Solomon Islands' head of state.

BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell said St James's Palace was making efforts with the French to identify the paparazzi photographer involved.

He added that there were no immediate plans to pursue action against the Italian magazine or the Irish Newspaper that have also circulated the pictures but said sources had told him all options remained open.

'Expectation of privacy'

Solicitor Mark Stephens, who specialises in intellectual property rights and human rights, told BBC News that the photographer would have broken the law to take the photographs.

Image caption The royal couple have continued their tour in the Solomon Islands

"There is no doubt here that the princess had an absolute expectation of privacy and that these photographs should never have been taken, could not have been taken without breaking the law, and should never have been published," he said.

Former Prime Minister Sir John Major told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that the photographer's actions were those of a "peeping Tom" and a boundary had "plainly been crossed".

"The way [these photographs] have been obtained is tasteless. It is the action of a peeping Tom. In our country we prosecute peeping Toms. That's exactly what they have done and they have been peeping with long lenses from a long way away. They're very distasteful."

He praised the British press for not publishing the photographs, which were taken from a road some distance from the French chateau where the duke and duchess were staying for a short break.

'Worst excesses'

Chi, the Italian magazine, said it would print a special 26-page edition featuring the photographs on Monday.

Closer, the French magazine that first published the photographs, and Chi are both part of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Mondadori media group.

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

Image caption The Duchess visited Guadalcanal Island

"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."

In 2006 the gossip weekly controversially printed photographs of a dying Princess Diana after the 1997 Paris car crash which took her life.

Parallels have been drawn between the press intrusion into the life of the duke's mother and the current intense media interest in his wife.

"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," according to a spokesman for Clarence House, the Prince of Wales's office.

Northern and Shell and Independent News and Media, the owners of the Irish Daily Star which printed the pictures on Saturday in its Republic of Ireland edition, condemned the decision and said they had had no prior knowledge of it.

Northern and Shell said it had no editorial control over the Republic of Ireland-based newspaper and was consulting lawyers "as a matter of urgency", over what it believed to be "a serious breach of their contract".

Chairman Richard Desmond said: "I am very angry at the decision to publish these photographs and am taking immediate steps to close down the joint venture."

Independent News and Media said it too had not known the pictures were to be published, calling the decision "regrettable and in poor taste".

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