The criminal trial in France regarding the topless photos taken of the Duchess of Cambridge while on holiday in 2012 has begun.
The Duke of Cambridge submitted a written statement as part of the legal proceedings in which he called the photos “particularly shocking” and said that they “made it all the more painful” bringing back memories of the battle with the paparazzi that his late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales faced. It was read out by the attorney, Jean Veil, during the proceedings. He also stated that he and his wife had been looking forward to “enjoying their privacy” while on their trip.
His Royal Highness said, “In September 2012, my wife and I thought that we could go to France for a few days in a secluded villa owned by a member of my family, and thus enjoy our privacy.
“We know France and the French, and we know that they are, in principle, respectful of private life, including that of their guests.
“The clandestine way in which these photographs were taken was particularly shocking to us as it breached our privacy.”
Mr Veil added that the publication of the photos resulted in significant damage to the entire British Royal Family.
Six people are on trial in the Paris suburb of Nanterre which includes three photographers associated with the French magazines Closer and La Provence. Additionally, Closer’s editor, Laurence Piau is also on trial for the invasion of privacy.
The Duke and Duchess have demanded £1.3 million from Closer which published the images on the cover with the headline “Oh My God!” five years ago. They are also demanding £42,000 from La Provence for the publication of pictures; the magazine chose to not publish the photographs of the Duchess topless.
The attorney said the damages requested represented “Anglo-Saxon level of punitive damages.”
At the time the pictures were taken, Their Royal Highnesses were at the private chateau in Provence. The chateau was owned by David Armstrong-Jones, the now 2nd Earl of Snowdon. He is the son of the late Princess Margaret and nephew to The Queen.