Topless Kate adds to list of red-faced royals
Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visit Nauti Primary School in Tuvalu during their Diamond Jubilee tour last week, when topless photos of Kate were being published by several magazines. (Getty Images)
Well, no one said the Royal Family was perfect.
Just in case anyone thinks so, the royals have given us plenty of evidence to the contrary.
If they could turn back the clock, we’d imagine there would be lots of things they would give a second thought.
For instance, don’t doubt for a second that Duchess of Cambridge Kate would ever have taken off her bikini top at a semi-remote chateau in France. At least not until a pack of wild dogs had cleared any paparazzi within a 10-mile radius.
The ruckus that has followed with publication of the topless photos is unprecedented. Usually, the royals like to put these things behind them quickly. This will not be case here as Will and Kate have made it a criminal investigation in France.
Kate is not the first, nor dare we say the last, royal to be caught slightly red-faced -- and not just because she exposed more than that to the sun. So, just to make her feel a little more comfortable, we present a list of gotcha episodes where members of the family -- immediate and extended -- would have taken a different course if given the chance:
In 2005, the mischievous Harry was invited to a friend's "colonials and natives" costume party. For some reason, Harry thought that posing as Nazi, complete with swastika armband, would be appropriate. That thought didn't last long. The Sun tabloid printed a picture from the party that immediately sent the Palace into damage control. He issued a statement: "I am very sorry if I caused any offense or embarrassment to anyone. It was a poor choice of costume, and I apologize." His brother William, by the way, was at the same party dressed as a lion. Good choice.
The recent phone-hacking scandal is nothing compared to what became known as Camilliagate in 1993. While Charles was still married to Princess Diana amid rumours of a marriage breakdown, he was the victim of an illegal recording of a call he made to his now-wife, Camilla. Part of the conversation included an exchange in which Charles said he'd like to be Camilla's tampon. Her reply: "You are a complete idiot ... oh, what a wonderful idea." At the time, most thought the first part of her remark to be spot on. Some say the Prince has never recovered from the episode, but, if nothing else, Charles has proven resilent.
In 1992, a few months after the Duchess of York separated from Prince Andrew, she was caught at a French resort in the company of an American businessman, John Bryan. She was topless and he was sucking on her toe. When the story and photos broke, she was with the Royal Family at Balmoral. Not for long, and the Queen has kept a polite distance from her over the years. Fergie's missteps continued long after she and Andrew split. In 2010, she was a victim of a sting operation by the now defunct News of the World, caught offering a reporter posing as a businessman cash for access to the prince. She later said she was "in the gutter" at the time. Despite all this, she and Andrew remain close.
He's over 90 now, so most people have given the Queen's husband a wide berth of forgiveness. But there was a time when the Palace was often scrambling to smoothe over remarks he made while on various royal tours. In 1996 in Beijing, he told some British exchange students: "If you stay here much longer you'll all be slitty-eyed." In 2002 in Australia, he asked an indigenous businessman: "Do you still throw spears at each other?" In 1994, he asked a native of the Cayman Islands: "Aren't most of you descended from pirates?" Philip never seems to apologize for remarks like this, at least publically. And his misguided witticisms haven't stopped. Several months ago, he asked a fellow in a mobility scotter if he had run over anybody.
The Prince was enjoying a rather lucrative role as a special trade envoy for Britian. One of his American connections was billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, with whom he was seen with at parties. Epstein had served 18 months in prison for soliciting a minor for prostitution. Piled on top of the already growing file of Prince Andrew gaffes, including his free-spending ways on the taxpayer's dime, the royal had little choice than to step down from his role in 2011.
Okay, she's not strictly a royal, but Pippa Middleton has become entwined with her sister Kate's extended family. Her every move is dutifully recorded by paparazzi, including a trip to Paris in April, when she was partying with her friend Arthur de Soultrait. They were in a car being chased by photographers, Pippa in the front passenger seat, when the driver decided to give the photog a thrill by pulling out what looked like a real pistol and pointing it in his direction. The subsequent picture showed the gun and an amused Pippa. The rest of the Royal Family didn't see the joke and she was in the royal doghouse for a while, even after de Soultrait came to her defence and assured one and all it was joke with a toy pistol.
The Queen's granddaughter, Zara Phillips, married rugby player Mike Tindall in July 2011. Just a few months later, Tindall was in New Zealand playing for Britain at the World Cup of Rugby. After a game, he went to a bar, got extremely drunk, and was seen in the company of a former girlfriend, who at one point kissed him on the head. His trouble was that it was all caught on camera, and soon seen by his new wife Zara, who hustled down to New Zealand. There was a definite chill in the air. In the wake of his first real experience of royal scandal coverage, Tindall was eventually disciplined by the English rugby union and then dropped from the team. Zara has been more forgiving.
We've all heard this story ... What Harry wants in Vegas, he gets in Vegas. But unfortunately for him it doesn't stay there. The prince is captured via cellphone camera in the buff with a young woman, apparently after a game of strip billiards, and the images make it to TMZ. The party in his suite included a dozen or more people, but his protection officers parked their authority at the door. Unlike the topless Kate controversy, Harry has taken no action, even when a British paper thumbed their nose at privacy guidelines and printed the photos after they had gone viral on the web.
Could all these episodes have all been avoided? That's a question the Queen must ask herself ... a lot.