* Chi weekly, like French Closer, part of Berlusconi empire
* Royals say decision on any legal action "under review"
* British media have declined to publish
By Lisa Jucca
MILAN, Sept 15 An Italian gossip magazine plans
to publish on Monday a special edition dedicated to topless
pictures of the wife of Britain's Prince William, its editor
said, defying risks of legal action.
The royal couple has already begun action against the French
magazine Closer after it published a dozen shots of Catherine,
Duchess of Cambridge - the former Kate Middleton - as she
slipped off her bikini top while sunbathing at a French
Both Chi and Closer are controlled by Italian publisher
Mondadori, part of the media empire of former Prime
Minister Silvio Berlusconi and chaired by his daughter Marina.
Chi Editor in Chief Alfonso Signorini said the special
edition would include a 26-page reportage with topless pictures
of the duchess, including some unpublished shots of her vacation
with Prince William, second in line to the British throne.
"This reportage is worth a special edition. It shows in a
very natural way the daily life of a young and famous couple
very much in love," Signorini said in an emailed statement.
"The fact that we are dealing with the future British
monarchs makes it certainly more interesting and in line with a
modern conception of the monarchy," Signorini said.
Chi's front page, already widely published by Italian media,
shows a large shot of Kate sitting topless, above the headline
"Scandal at court: the Queen is Naked."
Prince William's office said there was no justification for
further publication of the photos.
"We will not be commenting on potential legal action
concerning the alleged intended publication of the photos in
Italy save to say that all proportionate responses will be kept
under review," his office said in a statement.
"Any such publication would serve no purpose other than to
cause further, entirely unjustifiable upset to the Duke and
Duchess of Cambridge, who were enjoying time alone together in
the privacy of a relative's home."
Closer's pictures, already wildly circulating on the
Internet, were also picked up by several foreign publications.
Greek newspaper Eleftheros Typos had two photographs of the
duchess, one showing her topless, on its front page.
The pictures have reignited the debate over the privacy and
freedom of the press, especially in Britain where the media face
possible new regulations after a series of publishing scandals.
No British paper has published the photographs, including
the Sun tabloid, the only British title to run pictures of
William's brother Harry naked in a Las Vegas hotel.
"Her picture will be probabily available online until the
end of the earth. But it's not the end of the world,"
commentator Maria Laura Rodota wrote in Italy's biggest daily
Corriere della Sera.
(Reporting By Lisa Jucca; Additional reporting by Harry
Papachristou in Athens and Tim Castle in London; Editing by