(Photo : Reuters)
A French court ordered that published topless photos of Britain’s Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton be returned to her and her husband, Prince William, within 24 hours, the Los Angeles Times reported.
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According to the L.A. Times, the court also ruled that the magazine to first publish the photos, Closer, be fined $13,000 every time it republished or distributed the images. The photos, which were taken last week while the Duke and Duchess were vacationing in a secluded chateau in the south of France, were first published in a five-page spread on Friday by the French magazine.
In a statement released on Friday, St. James Palace said the photographs were a “grotesque” invasion of privacy and “reminiscent of the worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales”.
During the hearing on Monday, Delphine Pando, the lawyer for Closer magazine, said the issue over the photographs was a “disproportionate response” to an “ordinary scene,” the L.A. Times reported.
According to the L.A. Times, Aurelien Hammelle, the royal couple’s lawyer, argued that the photos were “profoundly intimate” and “shocking” and that they had been taken almost 15 years to the day that Prince William’s mother, Princess Diana, had died in a car chase by paparazzi in Paris.
Hammelle then asked the court that the magazine be forced to turn in equipment where the digital photos were stored that that it ban the images from being sold in France or abroad.
Two publications, the Irish Daily Star and Chi magazine, have since published the photographs. Chi, which, like Closer, is owned by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s publishing house Mondadori, published the photos in a 26-page spread on Monday.
The royal couple has also filed a criminal complaint against the photographer who took the photos and a criminal complaint that could cost Closer tens of thousands of dollars and serve its editor a year in prison.
Prince William and Kate are currently participating in a royal tour of South Asia to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee. The scandalous photos of the Duchess come one month after racy naked photos of Prince Harry in Las Vegas were published in the United States.
However, unlike the naked photos released of Prince Harry, Hammelle said the photos of Kate exposed “particularly simple and deeply intimate moments in the life of this couple that have no reason to be on a magazine cover,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
Hammelle continued, "In the name of what did Closer publish these 'shock' photos? Certainly not in the name of information. The Duchess of Cambridge is a young woman, not an object ... and I ask you to put yourself in the place of her husband, Prince William, ... and the place of her parents."