Next year, six French journalists will face trial for breach of privacy due to the publication of topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge in the celebrity French magazine, Closer. The offensive images were taken back in September of 2012 when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were on a private holiday at Chateau D’Autet, in Provence in southern France. The luxury chateau is owned by Viscount Linley, Her Majesty’s nephew.
The photos were taken with a long lens, showing the Duchess topless on a balcony of the chateau. They were later published by Closer. The publication of the offensive photos caused great debate about press intrusion into the lives of celebrities. It also infuriated the British Royal Family and brought back unpleasant memories of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales and the paparazzi intrusion into her life and the lives of the royals.
French Majestrates have decided that Closer‘s chief editor, the head of the Mondadori press group which owns the magazine, two photographers of a Parisian agency, a photographer and a senior figure at the regional daily newspaper, La Provence are to appear in court to answer for the publication of the photos. The intimate pictures first appeared on the front page of the regional daily in southern France on 7 September. They were published a week later by Closer. La Provence denied that it was one of their own photographers who took the photos.
This didn’t stem the publication of the pictures, and they appeared in Chi Magazine, which is owned by the former Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi’s Mondadori media group. The pictures were also published in Denmark, Ireland, Italy and Sweden.
Attorneys for the Duke and Duchess obtained a civil injunction in Paris along with seeking criminal charges against those responsible for taking and publishing the photos.
The Duchess of Cambridge is no stranger taking to the courts and fighting for her privacy. In 2009, when she was still Kate Middleton, she won £5,000 in damages and an apology for invasion of privacy by Rex Features. They apologised for images taken of the future Duchess playing tennis on Christmas Eve whilst on holiday in Cornwall. The image was ‘syndicated’ by an agency to foreign media outlets.
And earlier this year, the Duchess, as reported by Royal Central, also believed her privacy and that of her son, Prince George had been invaded when paparazzi took photos of the little Prince sitting on a police bicycle. She and George were surrounded by police officers who helped George mount the bike and show him how to drive it. The Duchess claimed that these photos were taken during private time and not during a public event.