Topless Kate pictures: shock at French magazine’s decision
Royal source says use of photos of William and Kate sunbathing ‘turns back the clock 15 years’
THE publication this morning of pictures of Kate Middleton going topless beside a private swimming pool in Provence is likely to be taken a lot more seriously by Prince Charles’s lawyers than the recent snaps of Prince Harry cavorting in a Las Vegas hotel suite.
While Harry, it could be argued, invited an invasion of his privacy when he asked a group of strangers to join him in his VIP suite, the Duchess of Cambridge did no so such thing. Indeed, the photos published by the French edition of the celebrity magazine Closer could hardly be more intrusive.
They were taken by long lens on the terrace of the secluded provencal holiday home of Viscount Linley, son of Lord Snowdon and the late Princess Margaret. The property - described as a chateau in tabloid reports, but really a substantial provencal house - is off the beaten track, surrounded by lavender fields on a large estate north of the Luberon hills.
The house is not on the tourist trail and - until Linley offered it to William and Kate for a private holiday before their Far East trip - certainly not on the paparazzi hit-list. Someone went to a lot of trouble to take the photos.
William and Kate, now in Kuala Lumpur, are said to be “saddened” by the publication, which began with pixellated shots appearing on Closer’s website, before the magazine hit the shelves this morning.
The truth is, William will be furious. He has loathed the excesses of the press ever since his mother was killed in a Paris car crash while being pursued by paparazzi. That it should be a French magazine that has so humiliated his wife makes it worse. He is unlikely to hold his father back from taking action.
The Daily Telegraph quotes a royal source saying: “This is disappointing, saddening and turns the clock back 15 years. We have always maintained the position that the Duke and Duchess deserve their privacy, not least when they are on holiday in their own swimming pool.”
It is significant that the pictures have appeared in a French magazine, not a British one. They were shipped around the UK and no one touched them.
However big this story goes, the British press is likely to hold the line. Even The Sun, which got away with publishing the Harry photos, is very unlikely to risk public opprobrium with these photos, especially while it’s still trying to apologise to the public for its notorious Hillsborough coverage.
Currently, The Sun is running a straightforward report under the headline ‘Kate topless photo shock’, accompanied by a suitably demure photograph of the Duchess of Cambridge under a parasol.
Closer’s decision to publish comes at a time when the French press is becoming increasingly emboldened having for years been scared off by the country’s strict privacy laws. But relatively small fines – usually less than €30,000 – have made publication of risque photos a reasonable commercial risk. Presidential partners Carla Bruni and Valerie Trierweiler are among those forced as a result to take legal action.
What comes as a shock is the upfront attitude of Closer’s female editor, Laurence Pieau, whose excitement over her questionable scoop suggests she’s not aware of the deepness of the ‘merde’ she could find herself in.
She has promoted the pictures with the line: “Oh my God! The photos that will go around the world”. As the Daily Mail reports, before publication she teased readers with the promise that the pictures would show show Kate “fully topless” and there would be “nipples”.
After saying that “Harry is going to feel a lot less alone”, she also offered the helpful explanation that Kate had removed her bikini top “to avoid streaky tan marks”.