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Royals file legal action in Paris over topless photos

Lawyers for Britain’s royal family filed a legal complaint in Paris on Monday against French gossip magazine Closer and the photographer who took topless photographs of Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton while on holiday in France.


Britain's royals filed a criminal complaint in the Paris suburb of Nanterre on Monday against French gossip magazine Closer, which published topless photos of Prince William's wife Catherine sunbathing while on holiday in France.

The royal couple are seeking compensation from both the magazine and the unnamed photographer for breaching French privacy law after the unauthorised release of the images, taken with a telephoto lens while the couple lounged by the pool at a French chateau.

The pair are also seeking an injunction to prevent Closer -- which is a member of the Italian media group Mondadori, part of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s media empire -- from re-selling or redistributing the images.

The injunction request is scheduled to be considered at a hearing beginning at 16:00 (GMT) on Monday.

“The complaint 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,” said a spokeswoman for St. James’s Palace, the office of Prince William, on condition of anonymity.

The palace said it would be up to French prosecutors to decide whether to investigate and pursue a criminal complaint for breach of privacy or for trespassing.

The palace also said it was considering “all proportionate responses” against Italian gossip magazine Chi, which published the images on Monday, though no decision has yet been made on legal action against it or the Irish Daily Star, which republished the Closer photos in its Saturday edition.

British papers denounce publication

No British publication has run the pictures, and Britain’s tabloids have lined up to denounce them as an invasion of the duchess’s privacy.

The strong response stands in contrast to the reception of naked photos of Prince Harry partying in Las Vegas, which appeared online last month and were later published in Britain’s The Sun tabloid. The palace took no action against those who published them.

The incident has also evoked memories of the paparazzi hounding William’s late mother, Princess Diana. A coroner’s inquest found that pursuing photographers were partly responsible for her death in a Paris car crash in August 1997.

In Italy, the newspaper La Repubblica -- a longtime foe of Berlusconi’s -- criticised Chi’s decision to publish the photos, saying they were incompatible with his status as a former politician and statesman.

Berlusconi’s daughter Marina, who heads Mondadori, defended her father, saying he could not interfere with the publisher’s “editorial autonomy”.

La Repubblica said she had written to the newspaper, asking rhetorically: “What should he have done? ... Should he have forced himself not to publish that which the overwhelming majority of gossip papers, in every part of the globe, would have competed with each other to have?”

The storm over the photos erupted as William and Kate made an official tour of Singapore, Malaysia and the South Pacific. They arrived in the Solomon Islands on Sunday and will end their trip Tuesday in the island nation of Tuvalu.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)


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