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A stiff upper lip is needed by William and Kate - not legal action


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It’s not been an easy week for The Duchess of Cambridge.

Coinciding with her and Prince William’s Asia Pacific Diamond Jubilee tour, it emerged last week that French Closer magazine had published photos of Kate sunbathing topless whilst holidaying in the South of France with her husband.

The photos show Middleton in a series on intimate moments, relaxing in the private villa of Chateau d'Autet,  and have caused an uproar in the British media, as they show the Duchess laid bare - a stark contrast to her normally controlled and immaculate public image.

Closer magazine were the first to take the controversial decision to publish the uncensored photos, no less on the front cover. Hot on the heels were the Italian Press, with magazine Chi announcing that they have 200 photos of topless Kate, and their plans to publish 50 in a 26 page double special, with the headline “Court Scandal-The Queen is nude!”

The Daily Irish Star have followed suit, and  reports reveal that other European Countries and American publications are considering publishing the photos, though the internet is by now rife with websites showing the pictures.

The details began to emerge as the week went on that the money shots had been captured by a photographer with a long lens zoom camera as the couple sunbathed, unbeknownst that they were being watched. Kate and William were staying in the Provence countryside east of Avignon, when the pictures were taken from a public road less than half-a-mile away.

Whilst it was clear that Prince William was furious, and that legal action was inevitable, with St James Palace calling the photos a ‘grotesque and totally unjustifiable' invasion of privacy, the Royal Couple have now taken further action on top of seeking damages and an injunction. William reportedly remarked, “I want them jailed.”

St James’ Palace has confirmed that the Royal Couple will make a charge of criminality against the photographer in question. A palace spokesman said: “We can confirm that a criminal complaint is to be made to the French Prosecution Department tomorrow.” Once the complaint is made, it is up to the prosecutors to decide whether to investigate it. Lawyers have been called to appear in the Parisian courts to hault any further publications from printing the intimate photographs.

So is it just that the future King take further action?

All of the editors of the publications have gone to lengths to defend their decisions to publish the photos. Laurence Pieau, editor of French Closer, stated: “These photos are not in the least bit shocking”, whilst Alfonso Signori, editor of Chi, realized the commercial value of such photos, stating “…If I didn't recognize the journalistic value of what I had then if I did not publish them I would be better off in a market selling artichokes.” He also claimed the photos were not an invasion of privacy: “They were taken from a public place so there is no suggestion of an invasion of privacy.” Mike O’Kane, editor of the Irish star again defended the decision, with the excuse that Middleton is not the future Queen of Ireland, and therefore, should not be treated differently to any other “celebrity”, such as Lady Gaga.

It comes at a delicate time for the Royals. As the Prince Harry “Nudegate” seemed to have finally died down, this fresh display of royals laid bare may call as a reminder that they are never truly out of the public eye. The insult to injury that the incident should occur whilst they are representing the Queen on her Diamond Jubilee tour offers another reminder that they have a job to do - and that is to represent The Royal Family at all times. The Queen, having been born into Royalty and corronated at just 22, it’s fair to say has never put a foot wrong in terms of public image-we know very little about the Queen behind closed doors, and certainly, she has never been at the centre of any such scandal as Kate and Harry. William, similarly, has always led a Royal Life, and should have known better than to not give his wife a gentle reminder that they don’t live a private one.

The media’s defense that the pictures aren’t shocking and are a tribute to a young couple in love is hard to swallow - in fact, it's tripe. The Palace is right to lambast the photos and their publications as purely motivated by greed. But William’s “Send them to the Tower” attitude is not going to endear anyone. It’s medieval and a throwback to the times when men and women were severely punished for treason.

As future King, William has been groomed from a young age to know that his life is hot property, and in particular, overseas, there is less rein on what counts as a breach of privacy than there is on British soil. Kate Middleton surely signed up for this when she married into The Royal Family, and the careless decision to sunbathe topless in a villa near a busy road shows a bit of a slip up in terms of recognizing that there is always someone ready with a camera if you’re a young British royal.

Yes, the publication of the photos is a tasteless move, just short of voyeurism, and is a breach of anyone’s privacy. But this is the 21st century, and criminal action should be out of the question. The best thing to do would be what the couple is already doing - keeping a stiff upper lip on their tour,  and representing The Queen and the UK at their best.

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