Sept. 15 - The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have launched legal proceedings against the publisher of French magazine Closer for breach of privacy, after it printed a series of photos of the Duchess, Kate Middleton, sunbathing topless. Joanna Partridge reports
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As a media scandal erupted at home, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge continued their Asia Pacific tour with a visit to a mosque in Kuala Lumpur.
French celebrity and gossip magazine Closer outraged many by publishing a five-page spread of photographs showing the Duchess, Kate Middleton, sunbathing topless.
The photos were taken during Kate and Prince William's recent holiday in the south of France.
Laurence Pieau, editor of Closer, defended their decision to publish, and insisted the photos aren't degrading.
SOUNDBITE: LAURENCE PIEAU, EDITOR CLOSER MAGAZINE, SAYING (French):
"They're on the balcony of a mansion in the south of France which is not far from a road, which cars drive along without any problem. They are visible from the street. They are a young couple in love. She's a young woman who is topless just like you can see on all the beaches in France and around the world."
The incident comes shortly after naked photos of Kate's brother-in-law Prince Harry were posted online for all the world to see. One UK paper even published those photos.
But George Brock, Professor of Journalism at City University London says there's a big difference this time around.
SOUNDBITE: George Brock, Professor of Journalism, City University London, saying (English):
"I can't for the life of me see any public interest defence for these pictures. There might have been some public interest justification for the pictures of Harry in Las Vegas hotel a couple of weeks ago, on the grounds that his protection officers were there and this raises a public issue. It's a slender justification quite honestly but you can just about see some."
A spokesman for St James' Palace said the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are "hugely saddened" that their privacy had been invaded in such a "grotesque and totally unjustifiable manner".
The statement said the incident reminded the Duke and Duchess of the worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, and was all the more upsetting to them because of that.
It later emerged they had launched legal proceedings against the publisher of Closer.
Privacy laws are tighter in France than the UK, says Paris-based lawyer Christopher Mesnooh.
SOUNDBITE: CHRISTOPHER MESNOOH, PARTNER WITH FIELD FISHER WATERHOUSE IN PARIS, SAYING (English):
"In these situations the damages are low: several thousand euros, perhaps 10 to 15,000 euros in extraordinary cases. So when you do an economic analysis of the number of issues that it's going to sell compared to the potential legal liability, it's certainly from a financial standpoint very interesting for the magazine to have published these photos."
They're now in the public domain, but it seems improbable any British publication would risk royal anger and public backlash by printing the photos.
Joanna Partridge, Reuters
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