Kate topless photos condemned, but is there a hint of hypocrisy?

Sep 14, 2012

Public outraged at French magazine's pictures, but how many are searching internet to see them?

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FRENCH magazine Closer has been roundly condemned for publishing topless photographs of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.

St James's Palace, in an unusually forceful statement, said the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge "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".

Press reports suggest we might not have heard the last of this, with Prince William seriously considering legal action - a bid that could prove fruitful in France, which has stricter privacy laws than Britain. However, the Daily Mail reports that it is currently just as likely that the royals will "let public opinion take its course".

If the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge take the latter option, they will be heartened to know that the court of public opinion has already passed a damning judgement on Closer.

"The royal boobs have apparently been seen," writes The New Statesman's Steven Baxter. "It might seem comical, or silly, or daft, a discussion that prompts sniggering and adolescent chortles. But with every fresh photo set there's a testing of boundaries going on and a new stripping away of privacy - not just of celebrities, but of all of us."

Baxter predicts online searches for 'Kate Middleton topless photos' will be going through the roof today.

"People want to see," he writes. But this is a dangerous attitude. "One day it's Kate, the next it might be you with a lens hidden half a mile away taking pictures of what you're up to. If you buy into the celebrity photos, you're throwing away your own privacy."

The Daily Telegraph's Willard Foxton takes exception to Closer's flippant teaser for the Kate photographs, which reads: "The royal couple was offered a romantic getaway, far from the protocol and etiquette in their very own garden of Eden.

"Almost alone in the world. Because Closer was there!"

Foxton writes: "It's a revolting description of a couple doing something perfectly normal in a private house. I think it's a repellent thing to do."

It is clear that it would have been foolhardy for any British tabloid to accept the topless photographs, but as The Guardian's Roy Greenslade explains, the British tabloids really had no choice. To publish would have put the papers in breach of the editors' code of practice.

He explains that The Sun was able to construct a "paper thin" argument for publishing the pictures of Prince Harry naked in Las Vegas by saying the photos were already all over the internet and there were security implications.

Such an argument wouldn't wash with the Middleton pictures, because she was in a place where she had "a reasonable expectation of privacy".

Twitter, meanwhile, was united in outrage against Closer.

The Independent's owner, Evgeny Lebedev, said: "Utter disgrace that a mid-market French rag has invaded Kate Middleton's privacy like this. Gutter press morality."

And legal blogger David Allen Green said: "Not a royalist, but for grief's sake give Kate Middleton some privacy. No person should have to face such photos being published."

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Whose leg are you pulling. We the people are already on so many intrusive cameras I am surprised it is not required to have one in our homes for the government to spy on us. The royals are supported by public money, they belong to the people over there and should not have any extra privileges, or privacy. If we can be viewed on cameras at intersections, and seen by who knows what agency, why should they be allowed privacy at all. WE have chips on our cars, cell phones, etc, we are already forced to be in a police state world wide. They are overprivileged, and should be reported and spied on the same as all of us.

Prince William was barely 15 when his mother was hounded to her death by the French press. Can anyone really blame him for not wanting the feeling of deja vu he must currently be experiencing??

I'm not aware these cameras you speak of capture images of us with our clothes off and then sell them for publication to the masses are you? What a silly attitude you have.

I get a space to respond to Royal skin but Assange response to six proposed truths is shut off. Given the obvious connection between nudity and rape, a duchess without her clothes is far less important than a whistleblower being raped by a corrupt legal system.