OK, it is time for the Royals take off their privileged gloves off. I understand that Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, was photographed topless while privately in the company of her husband Prince William at the poolside and balcony of a private chateau owned by the Queen’s nephew Viscount Linley, in the Luberon region of France. The couple vacationed there before embarking on their Diamond Jubilee tour together. The photographic event is clearly journalistic malpractice. Therefore, my recommendation to Kate Middleton and Prince William is to ask publishers familiar with the offending publication, to publish headlines encouraging reader’s to boycott the newspaper or tabloid that egregiously crosses this very personal private line merely to get a picture. Hence, the call should be upon all media to publish an announcement for the purpose of galvanizing readers to boycott the publication. This goes beyond free speech. It is certainly nothing wrong with publishers policing themselves. That said, here’s the story:
The photos were snapped from a nearby road that is accessible to the public.
French magazine Closer published the photos on Saturday causing shock and dismay among members of the Royal Family.
Ironically, Prince William and Kate Middleton heard about the topless photos as they were stepping out to visit Malaysia’s largest mosque, in central Kuala Lumpur; In deference to local traditions, Kate was almost completely covered in a white dress and a head scarf.
A spokesman for St. James’s Palace expressed the couple’s dismay at the French magazine’s blatant invasion of their privacy in a statement released on Friday, saying, “Their Royal Highnesses 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.”
“The incident is reminiscent of the worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, and all the more upsetting to The Duke and Duchess for being so. Their Royal Highnesses had every expectation of privacy in the remote house. It is unthinkable that anyone should take such photographs, let alone publish them.”
In response to this invasion of privacy, Prince William today filed a lawsuit against French magazine Closer, which published topless photos of Kate Middleton, for blatant invasion of privacy. Unfazed, the magazine’s editor, in a subtle hint to the Royal family to back off, has announced they also have intimate (sex?) photos.
“Legal proceedings for breach of privacy have been commenced today in France” said the St. James’ Palace spokesman.
It is not clear, what relief the Royals are seeking with their lawsuit.
Responding to the lawsuit, Closer magazine editor, Laurence Pieau, termed the reaction to the photos as “disproportionate.”
Speaking to the AFP, Laurence made the point, “These photos are not in the least shocking. They show a young woman sunbathing topless, like the millions of women you see on beaches.”
“It is a young couple that has just been married. They are in love. They are beautiful. She is the princess of the 21st century,” Laurence added.
Laurence says the magazine has more photos that it hasn’t gone public with so far, implying that editorial discretion was exercised, and perhaps also hinting the Royal Family to back off.
“I won’t hide the fact that there are more intimate pictures that exist that we haven’t published and will not publish. These images are full of joy, not degrading,” said Laurence.
“The complaint is about a breach of private life and the complainants are Prince William and the Duchess,” a judicial source said. A first hearing will be held at Nanterre on Monday when the couple will be represented by a Paris barrister.
France in theory has some of the strictest privacy laws in the world but, in practice, fines are often token.
Laurence Pieau, editor of France’s Closer magazine, who in theory faces a maximum sentence of a year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros (£36,000), insisted she would fight any legal action, saying: “The photos are not in the least bit shocking.”
But a source close to the royal couple said: “It’s disappointing, it’s very saddening and it turns the clock back 15 years.”