In 2012, a group of paparazzi and media execs thought they hit the jackpot when they snapped and published some topless photos of Kate Middleton in France. Turns out they didn’t, and this week they learned they will head to trial for invasion of privacy, according to The Sun.
Various outlets and a photographer are under investigation for printing the grainy photos of Middleton on a private balcony while on holiday in the south of France with Prince William, but Closer magazine and it’s publisher Mondadori are bearing the brunt of the legal action for being the originators of the photos. If convicted, Closer could be shut down for a good chunk of time.
“The photographer and legal representatives of both companies have been questioned concerning the photographing of a person on private property and the criminal use of these images,” a spokesperson for the prosecutor of the case said in 2013, via The Sun. “The maximum penalty for this kind of offense is one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros (£38,350) for individuals… For corporate bodies, the fine is 45,000 euros, cessation of business for five years and public notification of the decision.” [That’s about $46,500 USD.]
As it turns out, French authorities aren’t going after Closer for taking the nearly nude photos of the Duchess of Cambridge, but they’re going after them for taking the pictures of anybody, period. The paparazzi would have violated laws by invading the privacy of any of us. The difference is, photos of a plebeian wouldn’t be splashed all over newspapers and the internet.
Obviously, everyone at St. James’ Palace was incensed when the photos were released, and the royal family offered a statement that likened the invasion to Princess Diana’s death.
“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,” the statement read, via the BBC. “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 also defended Middleton’s decision to sunbathe without her top, to which we say: “Bravo, old chaps. Bravo.”
Before you go, check out our slideshow below.