Britain’s royals are seeking $2.1 million in damages over the alleged publication of Kate Middleton’s topless photographs.
Back in September 2012, French gossip magazine Closer and the regional newspaper La Provence published unauthorized topless pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge in which she was shown sunbathing in the south of France. The leaked nude pictures allegedly triggered an outrage in Britain and in the royal family.
Closer’s grainy photos depicted Kate sunbathing topless with Prince William on a balcony at a 19th-century lodge. “OH MY GOD!,” the cover of Closer proclaimed. Inside the magazine, there was a five-page spread of the couple relaxing, oblivious to the paparazzi. In one photo, she was seen removing her bikini; in another, she was seen rubbing suntan lotion on Will’s back; in another, William rubs suntan lotion on her almost-bare bottoms.
Analysts from The Times believed that the leaked photographs of Kate Middleton were taken from half a kilometer away from the pool in which the Duchess was sunbathing. The said distance could have required an 800-mm or a 1000-mm lens, making the leaked images more vulgar.
The St. James Palace fired off a statement condemning the photos:
“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.”
The Duke and the Duchess filed a criminal complaint with the French prosecution department and launched a claim for civil damages at the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Nanterre on September 17, 2012. At that time, the royals called the topless pictures of Kate a “grotesque and totally unjustifiable” invasion of her privacy.
“It is unthinkable that anyone should take such photographs, let alone publish them,” a St. James’s Palace official stated at the time. “… We feel a line has been crossed with their publication.”
The following day, the courts prohibited to further publish the leaked images.
The prosecution in the invasion of privacy trial called for very significant fines over the racy pictures, while Closer’s lawyer said that the royal couple wanted 1.5 million euros ($1.6 million) in damages from six defendants on trial.
The lawyer went on to insist that the photos showed a “positive image of the couple,” and even criticized as “Anglo-Saxon reasoning of damages and interest.”
On the other hand, La Provence’s publishing director at the time, Marc Auburtin and photographer Valerie Suau are also standing trial. The case had been delayed for over four months as the court gave time to the agency’s photographers to prepare their defense.
Valerie Suaa has been charged for taking photos of Kate Middleton in a swimsuit, but La Provence denied that their photographer took any topless pictures of the Duchess.
In a written statement read out on behalf of Prince William in court read, “In September 2012, my wife and I thought that we could go to France for a few days in a secluded villa owned by a member of my family, and thus enjoy our privacy.”
He added, “We know France and the French and we know that they are, in principle, respectful of private life, including that of their guests. The clandestine way in which these photographs were taken was particularly shocking to us as it breached our privacy.”
Prince William’s lawyers even argued that the leaked topless images of prince’s wife were distressing as it brought back painful memories of late Princess Diana’s death in a car crash in Paris in 1997 while she was being pursued by paparazzi.
Neither Kate Middleton nor Wills was present in the court, but according to DailyStar, they were said to appear following the proceedings from the U.K. Representatives for Prince William refused to comment when contacted by the major news outlet.
A verdict is expected at a later date.
Keep checking this space to know the final verdict on the topless images of Kate Middleton.
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