French court bans topless photos of Kate Middleton
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A French court on Tuesday ordered French magazine Closer to return topless photos taken of Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton while on holiday in France and has banned their further publication.
A French court has ordered a magazine publisher to return all digital files of topless photos of the duchess of Cambridge within 24 hours.
The weekly magazine Closer is also forbidden to continue to publish the images of the duke and duchess of Cambridge’s private moments, including on its website and in its tablet application. The magazine printed 14 photos of the duchess last week that show her sunbathing topless while on holiday in southern France, taken with a telephoto lens.
Under the ruling, Closer faces a daily fine of €10,000 if it fails to hand over the photos.
“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 passersby, are by nature particularly intrusive,” the French ruling decreed. “[They] were thus subjected to this brutal display the moment the cover appeared.”
The case is the first of two legal actions filed by the British royals. In a reflection of just how intent they are on protecting their privacy – and likely dissuading paparazzi from future ventures – the royal couple have also initiated criminal proceedings over the topless pictures with the aim of securing the prosecution of Closer's editor and the photographer who took the pictures.
A French prosecutor on Tuesday began a preliminary investigation into the criminal complaint.
Christopher Mesnooh, an American lawyer who works in Paris, said French law strongly protects privacy rights but tabloids have their own reasons for publication, even when they might be in violation of the law.
“It appears to give satisfaction entirely to the royal couple,” Mesnooh said of Tuesday’s ruling. “The problem with this kind of decision is that the horse got out of the barn a long time ago.”
It is too late for the royal family to block the photos' international publication, as publications in Ireland and Italy have already published them. Tuesday’s ruling only affects the French publisher.
(FRANCE 24 with wires)