09/17/2012

More topless photos of Kate hit streets as legal battle heats up

Canoe
Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, ride a traditional war canoe as they arrive in Tavanipupu, Solomon Islands, on Monday. (Reuters)

While Kate was treated to traditional dancing from bare-breasted women in the Solomon Islands on Monday, lawyers for the Duke and Duchess were in Paris launching their counter-offensive against topless photos of the Duchess.

The lawyers will find out Tuesday morning if a judge will grant an injunction stopping any further printing of topless photos in the French gossip magazine Closer, which published a series of shots in their edition last Friday

The controversy over the paparazzi photos was intensified by Italy's Chi magazine, which hit newsstands Monday with a special section featuring 18 photos of topless Kate. Both Closer and Chi are published by Mondadori, owned by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Kate islandLawyers for the royal couple have made a formal criminal complaint of breach of privacy and trespass. At the court hearing Monday, attorney Aurélien Hamelle asked the judge for damages as well as a ban on Closer printing or re-selling any more of the more than 200 photos that were taken at a French chateau, just days before the William and Kate set off on their nine-day tour of Asia and the South Pacific.

If the court challenges are successful, Closer's editor, Laurence Pieau, and the so-far unidentified photographer, could go to jail for a year and be fined the maximum $57,000 (Canadian).

Hammelle told the judge that Kate is "a young woman, not an object."

"They (Closer) were aware of the illegal character of the photos," he said. "They knew how the princess and Prince William would react to having their intimacy violated."

Representing Closer, Delphine Pando told the court that the royals themselves were the root of the problem, that they made a "disproportionate response" to the publication of photos. She also noted that "they were clearly visible from the road."

Chi, meanwhile, was reportedly doing a brisk business in selling its magazine, which has a weekly circulation of about 340,000 copies.

In an editorial, Chi editor Alfonso Signorini defended the special issue, titled "The Queen is Naked."

"What appears on the cover of Chi firstly is a beautiful young girl who is similar to millions of girls around the world who suntan topless,” he wrote.

“Seeing a future sovereign immortalized in a series of pictures that are neither perverse nor harmful to her dignity, makes her more likable, less anachronistic or distant from us.”

Signorini went on to offer some advice to the Palace: "Rather than getting angry with the media, which are exercising nothing more than their right to inform, the Royal Palace should, in my very humble opinion, take the opportunity to comment on this scoop with typical British humour and say 'so what?'"

MagazineThe photos in Chi (right), like the ones in Closer, show the Duke and Duchess sunbathing on the balcony of the chateau in France. In an article accompanying the photos, a plastic surgeon used the photos to speculate on whether Kate has had breast surgery (he concludes they are "absolutely natural").

Meanwhile, William and Kate have kept their smiles intact the last few days as they continue their royal tour. "Their motto is keep calm and carry on," a royal source told London's Daily Mirror. “They have put it to bed and it has given them some closure to know legal action is being pursued.”

The Duke and Duchess were given a rousing welcome by the people of the village of Marau in the Solomon Islands on Monday. During a visit to a cultural centre, Kate became a true islander as she was presented with a floral headdress made from frangipani and bougainvillea. Later, they were taken to the island of Tavanipupu aboard a war canoe and presented with a variety of gifts, some presented by young bare-breasted women. Kate couldn't help but giggle.

The couple went barefoot as they toured among the natives. Kate started the day in a yellow dress from Jaeger, then changed into a blue Mulberry dress. She spent a half hour talking with 40 women from the Young Women's Parliamentary Group, dedicated to giving women a strong voice in the male-dominated society.

"Her presence has motivated us further and also given encouragement," one woman told the Daily Mail. "It's a huge boost to our cause."

While there is a full-force legal attack on Closer in France, speculation is that the royals won't launch similiar actions against after Chi in Italy or the Daily Star in Ireland, which published pictures on Saturday. The Palace has appealed to the media to use "common sense and decency" and not publish any topless photographs of the duchess.

Chi has already suffered some criticism from other publications in Italy, but the magazine's chair, Marina Berlusconi, daughter of Silvio, defended the decision to print the photos in a letter Monday to the newspaper La Repubblica.

As quoted in the New York Times, she wrote that Mondadori "is a publishing house that uses in the best way possible the freedom and independence that shareholders have always bestowed on it, and even in this case it just did its job."

She also said that dozens of magazines had competed for the photos.

It appears that the Daily Star will already pay a steep price for publishing pictures. Northern & Shell, the UK company that co-owns the paper with Ireland's Independent News & Media, condemed the paper's decision and plans to dissolve its joint partnership.

Ireland's minister of justice, Alan Shatter, also announced plans Monday to introduce privacy laws in the wake of the topless photos.

Shatter criticized journalistic standards at some print media.

''It is clear that some sections of the print media are either unable or unwilling in their reportage to distinguish between prurient interest and the public interest,'' he said.

Pointing to the Daily Star, he said "sections of the print media believe that public figures are fair game and have no right to privacy in respect of any aspect of their lives.''

Flowers
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge leave the cultural village in Honiara on Monday, where Kate was crowned an island princess with a flower headdress. (Reuters)

Centre
Prince William and Kate visit a cultural village on their Diamond Jubilee tour Monday in Honiara, Guadalcanal Island. (Getty Images)

Dance
William and Kate watch a traditional dance at the Cultural Village in Honiara on Monday. (AP Photo)

Weaver
Prince William and Kate speak with traditional weavers during a visit to a cultural village in Honiara on Monday. (Getty Images)

152143911
Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge meet young well-wishers during a visit to the Coast Watcher and Solomon Scouts Memorial on Monday, Day 7 of their Diamond Jubilee Tour. (Getty Images)

Villa
Palm trees shade the villa that Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate are staying in at Tavanipupu Island Resort in the Solomon Islands. (AP Photo)

MORE: Will and Kate go to war over photos

 

Comments

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Kate Middlleton has outroyaled the royals. She conducts herself with dignity, and does not deserve this grotesque invasion of privacy.
The bottom line is money in this society. It does not matter that Diana died hounded by the press. Nothing matters but how much money tabloids can make. Kate has learned a very hard lesson. She is not safe even in her home, from the powerful lenses of those intrusive cameras. I bet she wishes she could go back in time and be anonymous.

Never assume that you are not being watched. They should adopt that idea. Yes, they should be able, in the privacy of a remote home, to comfortably sun bathe, but the reality is that this is a world that revolves around money and not respect.

It is hard to imagine that these tabloids believe they have the right to print these pictures. There is no doubt that this is an invasion of privacy. For the photographer to even have taken these pictures is akin to being a "peeping tom". If the Duchess had been sun bathing topless on a public beach that would be different. However she was not. I think the tabloids go to far - no matter who the "celebrity" is and I don't believe that we have a right to know what they do when they are in the privacy of their own homes. Absolutely shameful!

Royal family or not, Kate Middleton and her hubby have every right to expect that their privacy be maintained and respected. This is the most grotesque invasion of privacy committed by some element of so-called media. Those responsible should be pursued to the fullest extent permitted by laws.

The increasing lack of morality in many countries has contributed to such activity as this. We need to learn modesty and that such violations of privacy do zero good to anyone involved. Anyone responsible for such violations should be thrown in jail.

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