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Prince & Princess of Wales

French magazine loses appeal over topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge

After issuing an appeal against the fine they were forced to pay when the French Magazine, Closer, published topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge, the magazine once again lost.

In September 2017, the French court handed down a sentence to the magazine’s editor, Laurence Pieau, and publisher, Ernesto Mauri, who were fined 45,000 euros (£40,000). The two suspected photographers who took the picture of the Duchess only in bikini bottoms while sunbathing at a chateau in southeastern France had to pay 5,000 euros.

Two senior editors of Closer, and two photographers appealed the decision, but the court of appeal in Versailles upheld a fine of 45,000 euros (£40,000) for the invasion of privacy and dismissed the appeal.

The magazine also has to pay out 100,000 euros (£88,000) in damages to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

A French prosecutor asked the court to re-impose the same sanctions and increase the fines given to the photographers who are still denying any responsibility.

French prosecutor Marc Brisset-Foucault said, “There was an absolutely unacceptable breach, not only of the privacy and the private lives of these two individuals, but also of the dignity of a woman.”

The fine remained at 5,000 euros for the photographers and another 5,000 if they re-offend.

Closer’s lawyer, Paul-Albert Iweins, has asked the fines given by a lower court in Nanterre to be reduced or cancelled. He stated that they were excessive for a privacy case.

The magazine argued that the pictures gave a “positive image” of the royals during the first trial.

However, the letter from the Duke of Cambridge read aloud in court recalling how this case was bringing back the painful memories of the paparazzi chasing his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales sealed the case for the Royals.

The letter from His Royal Highness also 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.”