Two charged over topless Duchess photographs

The complaint from St James’s Palace sparked a criminal investigation.

Note: This article is from the Guardian.

Powered by article titled “Two charged over Duchess of Cambridge topless photographs” was written by David Batty, for The Guardian on Wednesday 24th April 2013 18.36 UTC

Two people have been charged in relation to topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge published by a French celebrity magazine.

The head of the publisher of the French edition of Closer magazine and the photographer who took the pictures of the Duke and Duchess sunbathing while they were on holiday in France last year have been charged, AFP reported.

The topless photos of Kate emerged last September and most British outlets refused to publish them, in the wake of the Leveson report. French Closer chose to publish them and St James’s Palace launched legal proceedings against the magazine, one of the first instances of a case like this involving the royal family in modern times.

The complaint from St James’s Palace sparked a criminal investigation, leading to the charges confirmed on Wednesday.

The magazine published what it described as exclusive pictures of Kate topless under the headline: “Seulement dans Closer: Kate et William, leurs vacances très hot en Provence.”

When the scandal broke last year, royal officials said a red line had been crossed in terms of the couple’s privacy.

St James’s Palace said the publication of the photos was “reminiscent of the worst excesses of the press during the life of [Princess] Diana”.

The Duke and Duchess launched criminal proceedings against the photographer under France’s strict privacy laws.

A French court granted them an injunction in September preventing Closer from publishing further shots of Kate sunbathing topless.

The pictures were apparently taken on the terrace of a guest house during a brief holiday with William in France last year.

Italian magazine Chi (Who) republished the photographs as did Danish magazine Se og Hør (See and Hear) and the Irish Daily Star.

The then editor of the Star, Michael O’Kane, was suspended while an internal investigation was held into his decision to run reproductions of the offending pages from Closer. He resigned in November.

Royal photographer Harry Page told Sky News at the time that the photos were taken on a 640-acre estate on the south of France. He added that from what he had seen they were taken with long lenses and that the couple would have had no idea they were being photographed.

The incident may have wider political implications, as French Closer and Chi are owned by Mondadori, a publishing company owned by the former Italian president Silvio Berlusconi.

In February Chi was again condemned by St James’s Palace for printing photos of the pregnant Duchess on a Caribbean holiday. The pictures show her in a bikini walking on a beach on the island of Mustique with her husband.

The palace said the publication was a “breach of the couple’s right to privacy”.

French Closer was launched in 2005 as a version of the British magazine then owned by UK publishing company Emap. It was sold in 2006 to Mondadori France, a subsidiary of an Italian company, and sells 400,000 copies a week. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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