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Home / News / Prince William seeks £1.3MILLION over Kate Middleton topless photos

Prince William seeks £1.3MILLION over Kate Middleton topless photos

Prince William has been accused of hypocrisy and cashing in on his celebrity status by a lawyer after demanding £1.3million compensation over topless photos of his wife Kate Middleton.

The Duke of Cambridge said the images were ‘all the more painful’ as they reminded him of the way his mother Princess Diana died.

But a lawyer for the French magazine Closer, which printed the images of Kate sunbathing in the south of France in 2012, blasted the crippling payout demand.

Lawyers for the couple outlined their demands on the first days of a criminal court case in the Paris suburb of Nanterre, where six defendants face trial.

Mr Veil told the town’s Correctional Court that both William and Kate had suffered massively from the sneak long-lens pictures taken while they were on holiday.

Mr Veil said the compensation represented an ‘Anglo-Saxon level of punitive damages’. In France, ‘Anglo-Saxon’ means British or American.

The couple also want the local newspaper La Provence to give them £42,000 for running similar images, but with the Duchess’s breasts covered up.

He said they deserved damages and compensation amounting to 1.5 million euros (£1.3million), to add to ‘significant fines’ against the guilty parties.

But the defence barrister for French Closer magazine, which faces the pay-out, in turn accused the Royal couple of trying to make money out of their celebrity with ‘punitive Anglo-Saxon damages’.

Paul-Albert Iweins said couples in France were always being pictured while out using sun cream during their summer holidays, and branded William and Kate as ‘hypocritical’.

‘Their public and private lives are so intertwined as to be inseparable,’ Mr Iweins told the court.

Mr Iweins said the proposed compensation was particularly ridiculous considering the multi-millionaire couple’s wedding at Westminster Abbey in 2011 had been watched by ‘two billion people’.

The request was made by their French barrister, Jean Veil, on the first day of a criminal case in the Paris suburb of Nanterre in which six defendants are on trial.

In a written statement read to the court, Prince William branded the decision to publish topless photographs of his wife as being ‘particularly shocking’.

The defendants include: Laurence Pieau, the editor of French Closer magazine; Ernesto Mauri, chief executive of the Mondadori group, which owns the publication; Cyril Moreau and Dominique Jacovides, two Paris-based agency photographers suspected of having taken the topless photographs.

Mr Veil told the Correctional Court that both William and Kate had suffered ‘massively’ as a result of the long-lens pictures, taken while the couple were on holiday at a chateau in Provence owned by Viscount David Linley, Princess Margaret’s son.

One particularly intimate photograph, showing William rubbing suncream into his wife’s skin, is said to have caused great upset.

They were published while the couple were visiting Malaysia on behalf of the Queen. Mr Veil said they deserved damages and compensation of 1.5million euros – £1.3million – to add to ‘significant fines’ against the guilty parties.

Prince William was known to be particularly angry at the humiliation heaped on his wife of just a year when the pictures were taken in September 2012 and has pushed for prosecutions from the start.

The prince’s declaration, read in French by the couple’s lawyer, said: ‘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.’

He added that the images were ‘all the more painful’ given the harassment linked to Princess Diana, who died in a car crash as she was pursued by paparazzi photographers in Paris 20 years ago this August.

Neither the prince or his wife, now a mother of two, were in court yesterday, but they are known to be following proceedings from the UK. Yesterday was the second birthday of their younger child, Princess Charlotte.

The long-lens images of Kate, taken as they sunbathed on a terrace at the chateau, covered the front and inside pages of France’s Closer magazine in September 2012 alongside an article about the pair entitled ‘Oh my God!’.

The lawyer said William and Kate also wanted £42,000 from a French local newspaper, La Provence, which published the pictures a week before the magazine without showing the duchess topless. Marc Auburtin, the paper’s publishing director at the time, and photographer Valerie Suau also face trial.

All the defendants are charged with invasion of privacy and complicity, but deny causing any damage. They say the pictures were taken from a public place and were ‘not in the least bit shocking’. Both photographers have denied taking the photos, with Closer refusing to say who was responsible.

All the parties submitted evidence to the court yesterday followed by discussions in private.

Judges will now take the submissions away for consideration with a verdict handed down on a date yet to be fixed.

According to experts, this kind of procedure is fairly common in ‘sensitive cases’, where a case must be seen to be heard in court but much of the work is done behind the scenes.

Sources also say that although the couple are seeking a hefty figure in court, the reality is normally very different. French privacy actions usually yield a few thousand pounds maximum – and can often be just a ‘symbolic’ euro or two – with the idea being that the injured party wins morally, and not financially.

A Kensington Palace spokesman said it could not comment on an ongoing court case or if any damages would be given to charity should they win.

Publication of the photographs four and a half years ago triggered a dramatic reaction in Britain, with media organisations – including the Daily Mail – deciding not to publish them.

In the meantime, the French authorities supported the Royal Family by banning any further reproduction of the pictures before launching an investigation into how they were obtained.

Despite this, the photos still appeared in a number of European publications including Italy’s Chi and Ireland’s Daily Star.

Lawyer Francois Blistene, who is representing photographers Moreau and Jacovides, said: ‘The investigation was botched. They were looking for scapegoats, they found these two.’

In the written declaration read by Mr Jean Veil, William said: ‘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.’

William added that the images were ‘all the more painful’ given that his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, was regularly stalked by paparazzi before her death in a Paris car crash in August 1997.

Mr Viel said the couple had ‘never consented to any pictures other than official ones’ and both had ambitions to ‘become King and Queen of England’ – a vocation that ‘comes with obligations’

Prince William was known to be particularly angry at the way Kate was treated, and pushed for prosecutions from day one.

Neither of the Royal couple were in court today, but they were known to be following proceedings diligently from the UK, said prosecution sources.

Mr Veil said the photos of Kate showing off her naked breasts on a hotel terrace had caused huge damage to the entire Royal Family.

Source: dailymail.co.uk

About Swati Sharma

SWATI SHARMA is an editor at “On Breaking”. She is a very enthusiastic journalist and has worked for many Esteemed Online Magazines and Celebrity Interview, thus gaining a huge experience before joining the team at On Breaking. She is a great combo of intelligence and passion, which adheres in her write-ups done for the website. She is specialises in Headline, Business and Entertainment.