Royal family in legal fight over topless Kate photos
'Grotesque' abuse of privacy says Palace
The Associated Press
Posted: Sep 15, 2012 11:14 AM ET
Last Updated: Sep 15, 2012 1:50 PM ET
The Royal Family faced a multinational battle to contain the spread of topless photos of Prince William's wife Kate, as an Irish tabloid published them Saturday and an Italian gossip magazine planned to do the same despite the threat of legal action.
The royal couple's St. James's Palace office condemned the moves as unjustifiable and evidence of pure greed, and said it was considering "all proportionate responses."
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge sued French magazine Closer on Friday after it ran the photos, taken while Kate and William were on vacation at a relative's private estate in southern France last month.
The blurry photos, called a "grotesque" abuse of privacy by royal officials after they were published Friday by Closer, show Kate - the Duchess of Cambridge - wearing only a skimpy bikini bottom and sunglasses.
The British media, wary about an ongoing media ethics inquiry triggered by revelations of illegal phone hacking and other intrusive newspaper behaviour, has generally respected palace guidelines stressing that William and Kate should not be photographed when they are not in public.
'The duchess would be no different to any other celeb pics we would get in, for example Rihanna or Lady Gaga.' —Mike O'Kane of the Irish Daily Star
But across the Irish Sea, the Dublin-based Irish Daily Star ran a blurry reproduction of the pages from Closer over two inside pages Saturday.
Editor Mike O'Kane told the BBC the photos weren't included in the edition distributed in Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K. And the newspaper's website came up as "temporarily unavailable" Saturday.
O'Kane defended his newspaper, saying that Ireland did not view the Royal Family the same way as the British.
"She's not our future queen," he told the BBC. "The duchess would be no different to any other celeb pics we would get in, for example Rihanna or Lady Gaga."
In Italy, gossip magazine Chi, which is owned by former premier Silvio Berlusconi, said it planned to publish a 26-page spread with the photos on Monday, although it wasn't clear if the content was any different from what Closer ran.
Chi is part of Berlusconi's publishing empire Mondadori, which also owns Closer.
Nothing 'morbid or damaging'
The Chi cover, featuring three pictures of a topless princess, was unveiled Saturday in Italian newspapers and television under the headline "Court Scandal: The Queen is Nude!"
In an interview Saturday with The Associated Press, Chi editor Alfonso Signorini said he didn't fear legal action since the photos were already in the public domain following Closer's publication.
He defended the decision to publish them in Italy, saying the photos are tasteful and respect Kate's dignity.
"I don't see anything morbid or damaging in them," he said. "Chi pays attention to respecting people's dignity. I don't think they hurt Kate's image."
He added in a statement that the pictures actually were in line "with the modern concept of the monarchy."
"It shows in its total naturalness the daily life of a young, famous, modern couple in love," he said.
A spokeswoman at St. James's Palace said royal officials were reviewing "all proportionate responses" to Chi's planned publication.
Palace officials compared the intrusion on the young couple's privacy to the tragic paparazzi pursuit of William's mother Diana, which many believe was a contributing factor to her early death in a car crash in Paris on Aug. 31, 1997.
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