The British royal family can’t seem to keep their clothes on. First, Prince Harry was caught in his birthday suit at a sex party in Las Vegas. Then Prince Philip went commando while wearing a kilt at the 2012 Highland Games in Scotland. Now the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, has been photographed suntanning topless at a private chateau.
The grainy photos published were in the French magazine Closer and Italian magazine Chi. Closer’s website promoted the pictures as showing the royal couple “like you have never seen them before. Gone are the fixed smiles and the demure dresses. On holiday Kate forgets everything.”
A spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess released the following statement:
Their Royal Highnesses have been hugely saddened to learn that a French publication and a photographer have invaded their privacy in such a grotesque and totally unjustifiable manner. 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. Their Royal Highnesses had every expectation of privacy in the remote house. It is unthinkable that anyone should take such photographs, let alone publish them.
Closer Editor Laurence Pieau says she doesn’t undertand what all the fuss is about. “We shouldn’t be quite so dramatic about these photos,” said Pieau. “I think the reaction to them has been a bit disproportionate. What we can see in the pictures is a young couple who have just got married, who are in love, and who are beautiful. She’s the princess of the 21st century.”
Pieau says the pictures are not an invasion of privacy because the couple was “visible from the street” but the royal family doesn’t see it that way and neither does a French court. It granted an injunction, which requires the magazine to surrender all photographs within 24 hours and prevents any republishing. Failure to comply with the injunction will result in a daily fine of €10,000 ($13,000).
“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 ruling decreed.
Maud Sobel, a lawyer for the royal couple, praised the decision. “We’ve been vindicated,” Sobel said.