The Daily Beast has reported that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have won an injunction in a French court preventing celebrity magazine Closer from publishing further paparazzi shots of the duchess sunbathing topless. A criminal investigation has also been launched, targeting the editor of Closer and the unknown person who took the pictures.
No action has been taken against the publishers of the images in Italy and Ireland, however, with a palace source indicating such action was unlikely.
Mondadori France, Closer’s publishing company, has also been ordered to hand over all copies of the image within 24 hours, or else face a fine of €10,000 per day.
A similar fine will apply if it breaches any other terms of the injunction, including a ban on transmitting the images.
Kate’s lawyer said yesterday: “In what name did this magazine publish these shocking photos? … It was certainly not in the name of information. This has no place on the cover of a magazine or even in an article in a magazine,” and argued in court that the photographs were a breach of the French privacy laws and were “a shocking breach of their personal intimacy”.
But one senior executive at a British celebrity magazine told the Guardian: “I think the action has been taken while the horse is already half way round the field.”
The photos have been republished in Ireland and Italy, and are widely available online.
The editor of the Daily Star in Ireland was suspended last night.
When Closer published the photos on Friday, Will and Kate condemned the move as a “grotesque” invasion of the Wilkat’s privacy “reminiscent of the worst excesses of worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales”.
The pictures were taken while in Provence at a chateau owned by Lord Linley, the Queen’s nephew, from a public road.
The couple fly home from Tuvalu, where they are completing their royal tour, later today.
They have also launched criminal proceedings against the editor of Closer and the unnamed photographer in France, which carry fines of up to €45,000 £36,000 and the possibility of a year in jail. These proceedings could take up to two years to work their way through the French courts.
The French prosecutor opened a preliminary criminal investigation into the pictures.
The first stage of the inquiry, which could take months, according to the Daily Telegraph, will allow the prosecutor to decide whether to proceed with a full investigation into whether taking and publishing the pictures breached the couple’s right to privacy under French law.
The prosecutor will also have to decide who any criminal proceedings are directed against.
The royals’ complaint cites “persons unknown” but it is understood they want proceedings brought against both the editor of Closer magazine, which published the photos on Friday, and whoever took the images of the couple sunbathing at a chateau in Provence earlier this month.
In court yesterday, Aurelien Hamelle, a lawyer for the royal couple, said the Duchess was a “young woman, and not an object” and the photos were from a “highly intimate moment”.
Bringing the civil action, he said his clients were not demanding the magazine be pulled from shelves, as “the damage is done”, but they did not want any more copies printed of last Friday’s edition that contained the controversial pictures.
Drawing a parallel with the “useless, morbid and fatal hunt” by paparazzi that led to the death of William’s mother Princess Diana, Mr Hamelle urged the judge to grant an injunction against all republishing of the photographs in print and in digital form and to ban their resale.