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OTRC: Kate Middleton photo scandal: Topless pictures trigger royal lawsuit

Topless photos of Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, published in a French magazine, have spurred a lawsuit.

French gossip magazine Closer published the photos on Friday, September 14. The images show the royal sunbathing topless on a balcony in Southern France, during a private vacation earlier in the month.

Palace officials said that "legal proceedings for breach of privacy have been commenced today in France," for the photos which they called a "grotesque and totally unjustifiable" invasion of privacy.

The photos are blurry and appear to have been shot at a distance and it is clear that the couple is not behaving as though they are aware of their company. According to French lawyer Anne Pigeon-Bormans, give the couple clear grounds for an invasion of privacy case.

In a statement released from a St. James's Palace official, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge said that they're "hugely saddened" by the publication of the photos.

"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," the statement read. "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."

The statement compared the incident to the constant media attention paid to William's mother, Princess Diana.

"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."

Closer magazine editor-in-chief Laurence Pieau defended the French publication's decision to print the photos, claiming that the shots are "full of joy" and show a young couple in love.

"One shouldn't dramatize these pictures ... The reaction has been a little disproportionate. It is a young couple that has just been married. They are in love. They are beautiful. She is the princess of the 21st century," Laurence told French BFM television. "It's a young woman who is topless, the same as you can see on any beach in France or around the world."

Pieau also said that there were racier photos than the ones published, adding, "I won't hide the fact that there are more intimate pictures that exist that we haven't published and will not publish. These images are full of joy, not degrading."

The incident arrives just weeks after William's brother, Prince Harry, was involved in a nude photo scandal. Photos of the 27-year-old prince in the buff were in a Las Vegas hotel suite were posted on TMZ.

The Royal and her husband, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge are currently visiting the South Pacific for the royals' Diamond Jubilee tour. The Royal couple had visited Singapore and Malaysia and will continue on to the Solomon Islands and the Polynesian island nation of Tuvalu from September 16 through September 18.

Middleton has recently sparked rumors that she is pregnant and was photographed touching her belly several times during her visit to the Singapore and Malaysia. Check out photos of her and Prince William's tour.

William married Kate Middleton on April 29, 2011. It was one of its most popular televised weddings, drawing a global television audience of about 2 billion viewers.

The two wed at Westminster Abbey, the site of Princess Diana's funeral and Queen Elizabeth II's 1947 wedding to Prince Philip.

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