Royal outrage has been stirred in Britain after a French magazine, Closer, published pictures of Kate Middleton—Prince William’s new wife—bathing topless at a secluded private house in southern France.
The British royal family is reportedly considering legal action against the magazine for publishing the pictures in the issue that came out today.
The photos, described as grainy and clearly taken from far away, re-ignited Britain’s disgust with the French paparazzi, which many blame for Princess Diana’s death in 1997 when she perished in a car that crashed while being chased by paparazzi in Paris.
According to royal officials, Prince William and Kate Middleton were “saddened” by the publication of the pictures.
“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,” a St. James’s Palace official in London 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.”
The palace official said representatives of the couple were consulting with lawyers.
“We feel a line has been crossed with their publication,” the official added.
William and Kate, now formally known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, were touring the Far East and South Pacific to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee when the photos were published.
The pictures were not carried by any of the major British publications, which are a bit gun shy after the phone hacking scandal carried the photos—though they did run photos of the naked Prince Harry in a Las Vegas hotel room.
“They won’t get published in this country, and if I was still an editor I would not be publishing them,” former News of the World executive editor Neil Wallis told BBC radio. “There’s absolutely no chance whatsoever that they will be published in this county.”
A French lawyer who is expert in media law said the couple would have clear grounds for an invasion of privacy case—last week, French first lady Valerie Trierweiler won a judgment of 2,000 euros after the publication of photos of her in a bikini.
“French magistrates take into account the victim’s behavior, when the person is flaunting themselves on camera. Kate Middleton will get damages because she’s not behaving in this way,” said the lawyer, Anne Pigeon-Bormans.