Last week, French magazine Closer published paparazzi shots of Prince William's Kate sunbathing during a getaway at a relative's chateau. The pictures were all taken with a long lens from hundreds of yards away.
Lawyers for Britain's royal family were in a French court on Monday, arguing for an hour with lawyers for Mondadori, the Italian publishing house that owns Closer and Italy's Chi gossip magazine. Both magazines are owned by former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi.
A spokeswoman for the royal couple said the images are a grotesque abuse of privacy. The royal couple's lawyer, Aurelien Hamelle, said he is seeking euro5,000 ($6,550) in damages from Closer, and also asked the court to fine Closer euro10,000 ($13,100) a day for each day the injunction is not respected, and euro100,000 ($131,000) if the photos are sold.
Despite the legal action, Chi on Monday published 26 pages of the topless images. The magazine included the 14 pictures published by Closer. But the Chi spread ran the whole sequence of photos as the couple sunbathed on a terrace, including one shot of Kate putting sun cream on her backside that didn't appear in Closer. No British publication has run the pictures.
Mondadori lawyer Delphine Pando told the court that the photos are not theirs to sell.
"We are not the owners of these photos," she said. "The photos are out there. If a TV show wants to show an image of this (magazine) edition, it's got nothing to do with us."
In addition to the injunction demand, St. James's Palace said Sunday the family lawyers would file a criminal complaint against the unidentified photographer or photographers involved, but that action was not mentioned in Monday's proceedings, and there was no mention of the name of the photographer or photographers.
Laurence Pieau, the editor-in-chief of Closer, defended the decision to publish the photos, saying it was not an invasion of privacy.
"Those pictures are not shocking. Just beautiful couple, in love couple, in the south of France, and Kate is the girl next door, that's all," Pieau said.
The storm over the photos erupted as William and Kate made an official tour of Singapore, Malaysia and the South Pacific. They arrived in the Solomon Islands on Sunday and will end their trip Tuesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.