The British royal family is threatening legal action against the French magazine Closer after they published topless paparazzi photos of the Duchess of Cambridge. The photos were taken from a distance, as she and Prince William were vacationing at a private house in Provence last week, and their existence was first revealed on the magazine's website last night. The full magazine with more photos inside reached newsstands on Friday, with little warning. The royal couple is currently on a tour of Malaysia, but is said to be "furious" about the "grotesque" invasion of privacy.
France supposedly has some of the strictest privacy laws in the world, thanks in part to William's mother, Princess Diana, whose death in Paris 15 years ago sparked a backlash against invasive paparazzi. The royals may have a better legal standing there than in the UK, but as the BBC points out, based on previous lawsuits that Closer has faced, the fines they may incur are worth the risk of increased sales. (The magazine that published the photos is actually the French edition of a UK publication, but now has a different owner.)
The family indirectly referenced Diana's death in their official statement, saying, "The incident is reminiscent of the worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, and all the more upsetting to The Duke and Duchess for being so." According to the Guardian the photos were allegedly offered to British newspapers last week, but all turned them down. Much like with the scandalous photos that TMZ posted last month of Kate's brother-in-law, Harry, most of the UK media will go out of their way to avoid angering the royal family by publishing private pictures.