British Royals seek $1.6 m over Kate Middleton's topless photos trial

Washington D.C.: Kate Middleton and Prince William are seeking 1.3 million pounds in damages from the French magazine, Closer, which published topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge in 2012, while on vacation in Provence, France at a chateau owned by Queen Elizabeth II's nephew, Lord Linley.

E! Online reports that according to a new report from The Daily Mail, Kate and Prince William's French barrister Jean Veil requested that the court grant 1.3 million pounds (roughly 1.68 million dollars) to the husband and wife in punitive damages for the pictures on Tuesday, the first day of the criminal trial in Nanterre, France.

According to the report, the magazine's editor in France, Laurence Pieau, Mondadori group chief executive Ernesto Mauri and photographers Cyril Moreau and Dominique Jacovides will appear in court on charges of invasion of privacy and complicity.

"Their Royal Highnesses have been hugely saddened to learn that a French publication and a photographer have invaded their privacy in such a grotesque and totally unjustifiable manner," St. James Palace said in a statement to E! News at the time of the scandal.

"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. Their Royal Highnesses had every expectation of privacy in the remote house. It is unthinkable that anyone should take such photographs, let alone publish them."

Kate Middleton and Prince William (Photo: AP)



KATE MIDDLETON TOPLESS PHOTOS COMPARED TO PRINCESS DIANA'S DEATH DURING TRIAL IN FRANCE

A trial over paparazzi photos of Kate Middleton topless kicked off Tuesday in France, with lawyers for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge demanding about $1.6 million in damages and invoking the death of Princess Diana.

The trial, which the royals did not attend, centers around a series of grainy pictures of the duchess on a 2012 vacation with Prince William at a spot in the Provence region of France, according to Agence France-Presse. Among other things, they show Kate taking her bathing suit top off and applying sunscreen to her husband's back.

Taken with a long lens, the snapshots sparked an immediate controversy when the French magazine Closer and newspaper La Provence published them. Outlets in the United Kingdom, where the royal family is beloved, mostly refused to print the photos, and the palace quickly filed a lawsuit.

Six people were on trial Tuesday: Closer magazine editor Laurence Pieau, La Provence Publishing Director Marc Auburtin, Chief Executive Ernesto Mauri, and photographers Cyril Moreau, Dominique Jacovides and Valerie Suau, according to BBC News.

Pieau has previously argued that the photos were "not in the least shocking" because "millions of women" regularly tan without tops on. But prosecutors said Tuesday the group should have to pay "significant fines" for invading the royals' privacy with the pictures, which quickly spread to magazines across Europe.

Attorneys also read aloud a statement from William, who said he was particularly hurt by the incident because of its similarities to the 1997 death of his mother, the Telegraph reported.

Princess Diana died 20 years ago this summer in a car crash as she and her partner, Dodi al-Afyed, were being pursued by photographers in Paris. The car's chauffeur and the paparazzi he was trying to outrun were found in 2008 to have been negligent.

The palace had similarly referenced Diana in its 2012 response to the photos' publication.

"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," the Kensington Palace said at the time. "Their Royal Highnesses had every expectation of privacy in the remote house. It is unthinkable that anyone should take such photographs, let alone publish them."

No matter what the verdict turns out to be, the topless photos of Kate weren't the first to rock the royal family. In 2011, old photos of her sister, Pippa Middleton, topless and in a bikini were published, and in 2012 pictures of Prince Harry naked in Las Vegas leaked.


What are the topless Kate Middleton pictures and when did Closer magazine publish the photos of the Duchess of Cambridge?

What are the Closer magazine topless Kate Middleton pictures?

Kate and William had escaped on holiday in France in September 2012, a little more than a year into their marriage, when the images were taken.

They were in a chateau in the south of France, which is owned by the second Earl Snowdon, the Queen’s nephew.

The Duchess of Cambridge is said to have been sunbathing topless when paparazzi allegedly snapped images of her.

The photographs were then published by Closer, alongside an article about the couple under the headline “Oh my God!” as well as by local paper La Provence.

Why are the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge suing the French publisher?

The couple are now suing the French magazine Closer for £1.3million, as well as a further £42,000 from La Provence.

The magazine had published the topless photographs, believed to have been taken from a public road, while La Provence published swimwear photos.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have since enlisted lawyers to sue six people alleged to have been involved, claiming an invasion of privacy.

What have Will and Kate said about it?

In a statement read out to the court, Prince William 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."

He also said that the fact that the photographs had been taken were "all the more painful" in light of his mother's death and the harassment she had experienced.

Who are the photographers involved?

Agency photographers Cyril Moreau, Dominique Jacovides and La Provence's Valerie Suau have faced charges of invasion of privacy and complicity.

Suau, 53, is said to have taken the photographs and told the court she did not intend to breach the privacy of the royal couple.

The court also heard that cellular data placed the other two photographers, Moreau, 32, and Jacovides, 59, in the area near the chateau at the start of September 2012 - but the pair have both pleaded not guilty.

Laurence Pieau, 50, who is the editor of Closer magazine in France, is also charged with complicity.

Ernesto Mauri, 70, chief executive of publishing group Mondadori, faces one charge of using a document obtained by breach of privacy.

Marc Auburtin, 56, was the publishing director of the magazine at the time and faces the same charge.

When is a judgment expected?

A verdict is expected to be handed down on July 4.

Presiding judge Florence Lasserre-Jeannin will announce the verdict at the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Nanterre.

The royal couple had launched their legal proceedings in 2012, with a court banning Closer from printing any further images.

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