The British royal family filed a lawsuit against the French magazine Closer for publishing topless photos of Kate Middleton, but the pictures are spreading like a wildfire across Europe.
First an Irish tabloid published them today and next an Italian gossip magazine is planning on letting Italians get their own blurry view of the royal breasts.
The St. James Palace office of the royal couple basically threatened to sue everybody, calling the publications greedy and saying it was considering “all proportionate responses.”
The photos were taken while Kate and William were on vacation at a relative’s private estate in southern France last month.
While British newspapers have condemned the pictures of its royals, there is a bit of hypocrisy at play since the tabloids like the Sun run photos of topless women every day on page 3 and also ran pictures of Prince Harry naked in Las Vegas last month.
The British media has been a bit timid about Williams an Kate, partly due to the ongoing media ethics inquiry triggered by revelations of illegal phone-hacking and other intrusive newspaper behavior.
But that hasn’t stopped the media across the Irish Sea as the Dublin-based Irish Daily Star ran the blurry pictures from Closer over two inside pages Saturday.
Editor Mike O’Kane told the BBC the photos weren’t included in the edition distributed in Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. And the newspaper’s website came up as “temporarily unavailable” Saturday.
O’Kane defended his newspaper, saying that Ireland did not view the royal family the same way as the British.
“She’s not our future queen,” he told the BBC. “The duchess would be no different to any other celeb pics we would get in, for example Rihanna or Lady Gaga.”
Northern and Shell, the British company that co-owns the Irish Daily Star — and publishes its British sister tabloid, the Daily Star — said it was “profoundly dismayed” the Dublin newspaper had run the pictures. It said it had had no control over the decision.
Northern and Shell’s chairman, Richard Desmond, said he was “taking immediate steps to close down the joint venture” that runs the tabloid.
In Italy, gossip magazine Chi, which is owned by former Premier Silvio Berlusconi, said it planned to publish a 26-page spread with the photos on Monday, although it wasn’t clear if the content was any different from what Closer ran.
Chi is part of Berlusconi’s publishing empire Mondadori, which also owns Closer.
The Chi cover, featuring three pictures of a topless princess, was unveiled Saturday in Italian newspapers and television under the headline “Court Scandal: The Queen is Nude!”
In an interview Saturday with The Associated Press, Chi editor Alfonso Signorini said he didn’t fear legal action since the photos were already in the public domain following Closer’s publication.
“Closer’s position is different, they were the first ones to publish,” he said.
He defended the decision to publish them in Italy, saying the photos are tasteful and respect Kate’s dignity.
“I don’t see anything morbid or damaging in them,” he said. “Chi pays attention to respecting people’s dignity. I don’t think they hurt Kate’s image.”