An angry Prince William and his wife Catherine launched legal action on Friday against a French magazine that printed topless photographs of her.
The publication of the pictures of the former Kate Middleton, taken while she and the second in line to the throne were on holiday in the south of France, evoked memories of the press harassment of William’s mother Diana.
Palace officials said the royals, who are currently visiting Malaysia, considered the pictures published by the French version of Closer magazine to be a “grotesque” breach of privacy.
But the editor of the magazine defended the decision to publish the photographs, telling AFP they were “not in the least shocking”.
The grainy pictures show Catherine, 30, wearing just the bottoms of a black and white bikini and having suncream rubbed on to her backside by William at the side of a swimming pool.
“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,” their office at St James’s Palace said.
“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.”
Later, the royal family confirmed that “legal proceedings for breach of privacy have been commenced today in France by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge against the publishers of Closer Magazine France”.
The palace said the royal couple “remain focused” on their tour of Singapore, Malaysia, the Solomon Islands and the tiny Pacific island of Tuvalu to mark the diamond jubilee of William’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth II.
But royal aides told AFP that William and Catherine felt “anger and disbelief” and believed that a “red line has been crossed”.
The incident “turns the clock back 15 years,” one source said, referring to the intense media attention surrounding Diana, Princess of Wales, who died in a car crash while fleeing paparazzi in Paris in 1997.
William is believed to blame the paparazzi for his mother’s death.
British Prime Minister David Cameron’s spokesman said the royal couple were “entitled to their privacy.” A source close to Cameron said he “echoes the sadness of the palace”.
The pictures are a further headache for the royal family, already reeling from the publication last month of nude photos of William’s younger brother Harry in a Las Vegas hotel.
Laurence Pieau, the editor of Closer, insisted she had no regrets about the pictures.
“These photos are not in the least shocking. They show a young woman sunbathing topless, like the millions of women you see on beaches,” she said.
In one of the shots, the couple are laughing as they lounge in chairs near a folded red parasol. In another, Catherine holds the top of her bikini across her chest, either taking it off or putting it back on.
Closer said the snaps were taken on the terrace of the Autet Chateau in Provence, where William and Catherine were said to have spent time last week before leaving for Asia.
The magazine said the chateau is owned by Viscount Linley, the son of the queen’s late sister Princess Margaret.
The three-day holiday began at Marseille-Marignane airport on September 5 and “Kate even smoked a cigarette between the airport’s exit and the car that was to take them towards their little paradise,” the magazine wrote.
Comparing the pictures to those of Harry cavorting naked with a mystery woman as he played strip billiards in Las Vegas, the magazine said: “Here there is no question of alcohol, of strip billiards or compromising positions, but simply a spouse at ease with her body, who has nothing to hide from her husband.
“Moments of grace, of complicity. Of love in its purest. Images of cloudless happiness.”
Rupert Murdoch’s top-selling British tabloid The Sun, the only British paper to publish the pictures of Harry, said it would not print the photographs of Catherine, and there was no sign of any other British publication doing so.
“The Sun has no intention of breaching the royal couple’s privacy. The circumstances are very different to those relating to the photos of Prince Harry in Las Vegas,” editor Dominic Mohan said.
Panicked Republicans ‘working frantically behind the scenes’ — but Trump just keeps attacking GOP Gov Brian Kemp
Republicans are worried that President Donald Trump will pour gasoline on the intraparty inferno burning in Georgia.
Trump is officially traveling to the Peach State for a rally in support of the two Republican senators in January runoff elections that will decide control of the U.S. Senate.
Republicans worry Trump will continue to attack Republican Gov. Brian Kemp as he has on Twitter.
"Trump is to headline a campaign rally for Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in the state Saturday night — his first major political event since before the Nov. 3 election. GOP officials are working frantically behind the scenes to try to keep the president on script at the rally, worried that he will use the forum to attack Kemp and other state GOP officials who have resisted his pressure, according to a person familiar with the discussions," The Washington Post reported Saturday.
Trump ‘facing a rapid decline’ as he wallows in ‘rage and denial’ over election loss: report
President Donald Trump's mental health since losing the 2020 presidential election was the focus of a new analysis by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker that was published online Saturday.
"Over the past week, President Trump posted or reposted more than 130 messages on Twitter lashing out at the results of an election he lost. He mentioned the coronavirus pandemic now reaching its darkest hours four times — and even then just to assert that he was right about the outbreak and the experts were wrong," Baker reported under the headline, "Trump’s Final Days of Rage and Denial."
Will we ever know how much money Trump and his family squeezed out of his presidency?
Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.
Four years ago, a victorious Donald Trump insisted that he had only lost the popular vote due to widespread fraud while raising tens of millions of dollars for his inauguration. Now, as his baseless, often goofy lawsuits get laughed out of courtroom after courtroom, a defeated Trump and his allies are raising tens of millions of dollars from his easily-enraged MAGA base to "stop the steal." And the lion's share of the $207 million Trump has raised since the election hasn't been spent on his legal campaign, but will instead fund his new political slush fund, among other things.