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French court orders magazine to pay €100k damages over topless photos of Duchess

A French court has ordered Closer magazine to pay €100,000 in damages following the publication of topless pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge in 2012.

The French magazine’s Editor, Laurence Pieau, and owner, Ernesto Mauri, must also each pay fines of €45,000 – the maximum penalty the court could award.

 However, the €100,000 (£92,000) awarded in damages is significantly lower than what the Cambridges were suing for. In total, they wanted somewhere in the region of €1.5m.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were on a three-day holiday in a chateau in Provence in the south of France in September 2012 when the photos were taken with a long lens.

They were then published across the front and inside pages of Closer magazine alongside an article with the headline “Oh my God!”

The photos showed the Duchess of Cambridge topless with the Duke of Cambridge putting suncream on her. They were on the terrace of a private chateau owned by the Earl of Snowdon, the Queen’s nephew.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge launched legal proceedings soon after the photos were published and the photos were banned from further reproduction.

An investigation was also launched into how the images were obtained, but this did not stop the photos from appearing in several other European magazines.

British newspapers rejected approaches to buy the photos, hence they were eventually sold to European publications.

The Duke of Cambridge submitted a statement, which was read at the opening of the case in May, where he revealed how the photos had brought back the distressing memories of the harassment suffered by his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, which made the decision to publish the photos “all the more painful.”

Additional reporting by Moniek Bloks

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