Kate topless photos: French injunction against magazine

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Media caption,

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge dance in Tuvalu

A court has banned a French magazine from re-publishing or distributing photographs in France of the Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing topless.

A court in Paris ruled the publishers of Closer must hand over the original photographs within 24 hours or face a daily fine of 10,000 euros (£8,000).

The royal couple's injunction against publishers Mondadori was granted after the photos were published on Friday.

Royal officials said the couple welcomed the decision.

They said Prince William and Catherine "always believed the law had been broken" and they were entitled to their privacy.

A judgement from three magistrates at the court in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre said publication of the latest edition of Closer should cease immediately.

The injunction does not cover publications outside France.

A written judgement in the civil case said the edition carried the 14 photographs which "belong to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge".

In its ruling, the court described the pictures as a "brutal display" of the couple's private lives, adding: "These snapshots which showed the intimacy of a couple, partially naked on the terrace of a private home, surrounded by a park several hundred metres from a public road, and being able to legitimately assume that they are protected from passers-by, are by nature particularly intrusive."

The magistrates ruled that every photograph published in France by Mondadori in future would carry a fine, also of 10,000 euros per breach.

However, the ruling refers only to those pictures that have already been published - Closer's editor has previously hinted that she has other, more intimate, pictures.

Reaction 'disproportionate'

Meanwhile, prosecutors are considering whether there are grounds for criminal charges.

The decision to start a preliminary criminal investigation follows a formal complaint by the prince and Catherine, with aides saying they were looking for proceedings against the magazine and the photographer who took the pictures.

The photographs that appeared in Closer were taken while the duchess was sunbathing on a private holiday with her husband at the French chateau of the Queen's nephew, Lord Linley, in Provence, earlier this month.

Applying for the injunction on Monday, Aurelien Hamelle, the lawyer representing the royals, said the scenes captured were intimate and personal.

But a lawyer for Closer claimed the royal couple's reaction was disproportionate.

Delphine Pando said topless photographs were no longer considered shocking and denied the chateau was inaccessible to public view. She also said the magazine did not hold the rights to the pictures.

No British newspaper has printed the pictures.

But Italian magazine Chi - along with Closer, part of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's Mondadori media group - printed a special edition on Monday featuring more than 20 pages of the photographs.

Meanwhile, Irish Daily Star editor Michael O'Kane has been suspended while an internal investigation is carried out into the publication of the photographs.

On Tuesday, the royal couple travelled to the South Pacific island state of Tuvalu, where they visited a primary school and the university campus, before going to a model village showing the traditional lifestyles of people on the islands.

Later they attended a ceremonial dinner hosted by the governor general of Tuvalu, Sir Iakoba Italeli.

They are due to fly back to the UK after a farewell ceremony at 2300 BST.

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