Lawyers Release The Kraken Over Kate’s Topless Pictures, Sarah Ferguson Wades In

The legal furore over publication of explosive, topless photographs of Kate Middleton continues.

Last night, St James’ Palace confirmed that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would be making a criminal complaint against the photographer(s) responsible for taking intimate candid shots of the Royal couple while on a recent holiday at the Chateau D’Autet in Provence.

It was also revealed that lawyers acting on behalf of the Royal Family have been instructed to be “prepared to go the whole way.” Tomorrow a French court will rule on whether Aurelien Hamelle’s — lawyer for Prince William and his wife Kate — move for an injunction preventing further publication of the topless photos will be upheld or not.

That decision will be announced at noon.

Hamelle is also seeking 5,000 Euros ($6,550) in damages from Closer and further punitive damages of 10,000 Euros ($13,100) a day for each day the injunction (should it be granted) is not adhered to. Hamelle has also requested a fine of 100,000 Euros ($131,000) if the photographs are sold to other outlets in France or abroad.

Delphine Pando, the lawyer for Closer, has asked the court to throw out the case. She argued that rights to the photos do not belong to Closer but to a third party agency. The price for their sale to the magazine was not revealed.

After 14 racy photographs were published in the French edition of Closer magazine on Friday, Irish newspaper the Daily Star published a 26-page spread over the weekend. Italian magazine Chifollowed with more topless shots. The French edition of Closer and Chi are both owned by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s publishing house Mondadori.

After St James’s Palace declaration on Friday that it was suing Closer magazine, various legal experts expressed doubts that the legal action for breach of privacy would be successful. That, plus the fact that the images of the Duchess are already widely available online, means the Royal couple’s action may amount to little more than a show of intent.

And, apparently, that’s the point. According to one senior royal source, the entire exercise is about “Prince William and Kate trying to draw a line in the sand, not for today, but for tomorrow.”

The strong condemnations of Closer, Chi, and the Daily Star are about the British Royal family and Prince William (in particular) attempting to ensure Kate Middleton’s life does not mirror the late Princess Diana’s hunted existence. Diana died in Paris August 31, 1997 after being chased by paparazzo and is universally seen as low point in the media’s history.

Wills and Kate greeted with garlands from locals on Tavanipupu Island in the South Pacific

Further support for the Duchess of Cambridge’s predicament came today from Sarah Ferguson. Once married to the Queen’s second son, Prince Andrew — although exiled from royal life — Ferguson can relate.

Twenty years ago, the Duchess of York was caught in the crosshairs when intimate pictures of her “enjoying” the attentions of US businessman John Bryan surfaced in 1992. More recently, Ferguson was shamed when a cash-for-access scandal was revealed in 2010.

“I have been there and know what it’s like. Everyone is entitled to privacy. It is a devastating invasion of one’s personal inner space. It is deplorable, abhorrent and despicable,” Ferguson told the UK’s Daily Mail.

Ferguson added:

“She [Kate] is a beautiful young woman doing a great job for the country. Why should she be stripped of that moment with her husband?”

It is believed other outlets around the world have been or will be offered the topless pictures this week. But, of course, it remains to be seen how effective the British royal’s legal threat is seen by these considering how much heat the story is generating.

Now nearing the end of 9-day Diamond Jubilee year tour of the Far East and Pacific which today saw them visit Marau and Tavanipupu in the Solomon Islands, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are said to be receiving daily briefings on the situation.