The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are seeking €1.5 million (£1.3 million) in damages for the invasion of their privacy, after ‘shocking’ photos were published of Kate topless as the couple holidayed in France.
The trial against six members of the media begins today, including three photographers, who were involved in the taking and dissemination of the photos.
William and Catherine took a short break at The Earl of Snowdon’s villa in Provence in September 2012. The Duchess was photographed using long-range lenses on higher ground, as she sunbathed next to her husband.
Images were used in France’s ‘Closer’ magazine, and despite the French legal ban on reproduction of the photos, they appeared in other European publications, such as the Italian magazine ‘Chi’.
Naturally, the couple launched legal proceedings as soon as they had found out about the release of the images, whilst they undertook a tour of South East Asia for the Diamond Jubilee, culminating in an investigation by the authorities into where the images came from and a trial.
The chief executive of Closer’s publishing group, Ernesto Mauri, and La Provence’s publishing director, Marc Auburtin, face charges of ‘using a document obtained by a breach of privacy’. Laurence Pieau, editor of Closer magazine in France, is charged with complicity. Photographers Cyril Moreau, Dominique Jacovides, and Valerie Suau, face charges of invasion of privacy and complicity. The photographers deny they took the images.
The Duke called the images ‘particularly shocking’ and ‘all the more painful’ given his mother’s experience with the paparazzi in a statement today.
The couple’s lawyer read out Prince William’s words today in court: “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.”
Closer’s lawyer argued that the couple were the subject of much media attention, and that the photos did not constitute a breach of privacy and cast them in a positive light – we, however, are not so sure.
William and Catherine are seeking a sum of €1.5 million for the invasion of privacy; it is expected this would be donated to charity.
A verdict will be delivered by the judge on 4th July.
What do you think of the photos? Were they unacceptable?