Two charged in inquiry over topless pictures of Kate Middleton
A photographer and magazine executive have been charged with invasion of privacy in relation to pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge taken whilst she and Prince William were holidaying in the South of France.
Ernesto Muari, chief executive of the Italian publisher Mondadori, has been charged with “invasion of privacy” for permitting topless pictures of the Duchess to be published in the magazine Closer, which the publisher owns.
Valerie Suau, who works for the regional French newspaper La Provence, has also been charged with invasion of privacy for taking pictures of the Duchess in a swimsuit. Ms Suau’s pictures were published by her newspaper but did not involve any nudity.
Investigators are still trying to determine if Ms Suau took the topless pictures of the Duchess. Media sources have a high level of protection in French law and Closer has never revealed the identity of the photographer.
Ms Suau has previously admitted to taking pictures of the Duchess in her bikini but denies taking pictures of her topless.
These charges represent a significant victory for Prince William and Catherine, which is particularly poignant as the couple prepare for the birth of their first child, an event sure to induce a media frenzy.
When the photos were first published, St. James’s Palace described their publication as “grotesque” and said the Duke and Duchess had reacted with “anger and disbelief”.
The couple decided to sue Closer magazine and its publisher, leading a Paris court to ban the magazine from re-publishing the photos and ordering them to hand over the originals within 24 hours, or incur a daily fine of €10,000 (£8000).
The Royal couple also filed a separate criminal complaint.
Celebrities in France regularly use the strict privacy laws in place there to take newspapers and magazines to court for taking pictures without their consent. The fines imposed, however, are often minimal, so many photographers continue regardless in the hope that the profits will outweigh any fines.
There has been no comment from the Royal Couple since the announcement of these charges. A spokesman for St James’s Palace has merely said: “This is a matter for the French authorities and we won’t be commenting while the investigation is on-going”.