'Furious' Will and Kate launch lawsuit after magazine publishes topless photos

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Catherine, Duchess  of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge keep stiff upper lips as they depart Kuala Lumpur airport for Sabah Maylasia on Day 4 of of their Diamond Jubilee Tour. (Getty Images)

The normally smiling faces of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge were anything but that on Friday afternoon as they formally launched legal action against a French magazine that published topless pictures of Kate.

The photos, published Friday by weekly gossip magazine Closer, were taken while the couple was on a weekend getaway in France just before Kate and Prince William began their nine-day royal tour of Asia and the South Pacific this week.

MosqueThe royal couple had their smiles intact as they sipped tea at a reception at the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Friday and visited a mosque (right), but were definitely grim-faced as they headed to the airport for the next leg of their tour.

A spokesperson said they are "hurt, shocked, furious and disgusted" with the magazine.

The Palace quickly consulted their lawyers to see what legal action could be taken. Friday afternoon, St. James's Palace issued a statement confirming "legal proceedings for breach of privacy have been commenced today in France by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge against the Editor and Publishers of Closer Magazine."

The papers have been served on Closer and a hearing has been scheduled for Monday, sources told the Daily Mail.

Over the headline "Oh My God!', the Closer cover shows some snaps of the couple sunbathing, with Kate about to take off her top in one. Inside, the five-page spread of grainy photos was devoted to their time around the swimming pool at Chateau d'Autet in the Luberon region of France. The countryside estate is owned by Viscount Linley, the Queen's nephew and son of the late Princess Margaret.

After seeing the cover the magazine, William and Kate lashed out at the publication for invasion of privacy in a statement issued  just before they took off from Kuala Lumpur airport:

"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.

"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. 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."

ROYAL-KATEA royal source told the news agency PA: "This is a clear and unjustifiable, grotesque breach of privacy. If we don't take a stand against this, then when would we make a stand?"

Some distant shots of Will and Kate at the estate first surfaced on the internet last week, showing the couple on the terrace with Kate in a bikini, but not topless.

Will and Kate are halfway through their nine-day royal tour. A St. James's Palace spokesperson said the couple "remain focused currently on their tour of Singapore, Malaysia, Solomon Island and Tuvalu on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen."

The publication of the photos has raised eyebrows for many because of France's strict privacy laws, stricter than those in Britain or the rest of Europe. The law forbids "fixing, recording or transmitting the image of a person in a private place without their consent."

A lawyer who is expert in French media law told AP the couple would have clear grounds for a case of invasion of privacy. Last week, French First Lady Valerie Trierweiler won a judgment of $2,500 (Canadian) after the publication of photos of her in a bikini.

Under French law, the magazine's editor could face up to a year in jail and a fine up to $57,000.

Closer editor defends photos

Laurence pieauCloser's editor Laurence Pieau (right) defended running the photos and said she had even turned down more explicit pictures, which were also reportedly offered to -- and rejected by -- publishers in Britain.

"There's been an over-reaction to these photos. What we saw in the pictures was a young couple, recently married, who are in love, who are beautiful," Pieau told the French news channel BFMTV. "She's the princess of the 21st century. They are on the balcony of a mansion in the south of France ... visible from the street."

CHATEAUPieau added that there is no comparison between these photos taken at the sprawling 640-acre renovated chateau that was a 19th-century hunting lodge (right) and the ones taken of Prince Harry several weeks ago during a strip billiards game in his Las Vegas suite.

"She's a young woman who is topless just like the ones that can be see on all the beaches of France and the world," said Pieau, who would not reveal how much the photos cost. "These are pictures that are full of joy. The pictures are not degrading. Similarities have been drawn with the pictures of Prince Harry. They are nothing like them."

Closer, which has a weekly circulation of about 400,000, has an exlusive on the photos, but Pieau said she plans to put them up for sale to other publications. (UPDATE: Irish tabloid publishes photos and Italian magazine plans special issue.)

Closer is published by an Italian media company, Mondadori, that is chaired by Marina Berlusconi, the daughter of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. There is a UK magazine of the same name, which has suffered some backlash from readers as a result of the photos, but it has been quick to point out that it is published by a separate company.

Being the most photographed woman in the world, Kate has had her run-ins with photographers before. In 2009, when she was Prince William's girlfriend, she sued a photo agency after photos of her playing tennis were published in Germany. She won an apology and legal costs.

Still, no senior member of the Royal Family has actually gone to court for a privacy lawsuit. William's mother, Princess Diana, once sued for breach of privacy when someone took pictures of her with a hidden camera, but that case was settled out of court.


The photos are overshadowing what has been a highly successful trip for the young royals in only their second major tour since their marriage in 2011.

On Friday, after the couple found out about the magazine's plans to publish, they attended a cultural event at a mosque in Kuala Lumpur, where Kate wore the tradtional head covering with her Beulah London dress, then headed off a tea party at the British High Commission.

There, with news of the photos spreading wildly and pictures appearing on the internet, the couple maintained their composure, though the tea didn't do much to relieve the sombre look they had when entering the reception. Kate was, as usual, elegant in her wardrobe -- a light blue dress with a layer of patterned lace from one of her favoured British designers, Alice Temperley (it goes for about $2,200).

She also wore LK Bennett shoes, which was a little awkward since one of the guests at the tea was another famous shoe designer, Jimmy Choo.

Mosque 1
Prince William and his wife Kate take their shoes off before entering a mosque in Kuala Lumpur on Friday. (AP Photo)

Kate mosque
Catherine, the Duchess  of Cambridge adjusts her scarf outside a mosque at KLCC in Kuala Lumpur on Friday. (AFP/Getty Images)

TeaRIGHT: Catherine,Duchess of Cambridge sips tea at the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur on Day 4 of the Diamond Jubilee Tour of the Far East on September 14, 2012 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Getty Images)











Here is raw video from Kate and Will's visit to a mosque on Friday:


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For real? Who the hell care - though I'm sure her breasts are quite beautiful - they're JUST BREAST! This is making news for news sake.... if we'd all pull the collective stick our of our conservative asses and learn that the naked body is a piece of art - then maybe we wouldn't waste headlines on such titilizing tripe.

I am not a big fan of the Royals, but with that said, that photographer should be treated as a common dirt bag stalker and also the publication in itself be charged and sued with defamation charges. That kind of conduct is downright repugnant. You would have thought these paparazzi would have learned their lesson after the death of Diana. Frankly this outfit should be made an example of so that other publications think twice before publishing such trash.

What a disgusting invasion of privacy. I don't understand how it can be legal to publish nude photos of anyone.

I cannot believe what that mag Closer has done to Catherine & William. Unspeakable! May their Royal Highnesses sue the heck of that mag, so next time, they think it over before they violate the privacy of these two wonderful, caring human beings...and royal and classy on top of it all...! I am just as embarassed and ashamed as they are and if I could, I will make them pay! To that irreverent, bad taste mag, OFF WITH THE HEAD!

Disgraceful intrusion...the publication and the photographer should face stiff fines, and the photographer's reputation should be destroyed!

Indeed;there was a time when such a traitor would have immeadiatly been thrown in chains. Obviously the photo taker has a streak of greed. The almighty dollar has clearly driven this person. I can imagine him now, scurrying off like a rat with some cheese. The Duke and Duchess must pursue this to the last.

You know you are being photographed where ever you go. If you don't want nude pictures of yourself the don't come out in public in the nude. However if the pictures are taken in a private setting then that is different.

It is totally disgusting for the photographer to be lurking around a private secluded property just to get pics of a topless person - sicko!! It's all comes down to the dollars everyone is so greedy that they'll go this far to get the bucks. How unroyally :-(- I really feel the hurt & embarrassment the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge are feeling. Shame on Closer.

I wish some people would educate themselves before opening their mouths. First, that photographer makes his living taking pictures of famous people. If the general public didn't have an unquenchable thirst for seeing stars and having to know all of their deepest darkest secrets, there would be no paparazzi. A 'famous' person should know enough not to sunbathe topless if they don't want the attention it could draw. Seriously - cameras with high-powered lenses were not invented yesterday.

And what "lesson" should these paparazzi have learned from Diana's death? You want to teach "them" something - don't buy the magazines with their pictures splashed all over the front of them.

Magazines survive because people buy them. If you don't agree with a magazine's policies or agenda, don't buy it. If they can't sell it, or advertisers don't find value in supporting it, it quickly goes away.

They live off the avails of the (British) public, thus their lives are on public display. This is how it works, and if they don't like it the Windsors are free to abdicate the throne and fend for themselves.

it go
s to show the reason they have bathrooms and bedrooms keep it where it belongs breasts are breasts keep them were they belong and nobody else sees them you act like a pig in public someone will see they should of kept it in the rite place maybe she should be charged with public nudity

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