The French celebrity gossip magazine Closer has 24 hours to turn over photos of Kate Middleton sunbathing topless, or face a $13,000 fine a day until it does so.
Britain’s royal family won a legal victory Tuesday when a French court ordered a magazine to hand over photographs of Kate Middleton, the wife of Prince William, sunbathing topless at a secluded villa in the south of France.
The court decreed that Closer, the glossy celebrity magazine that published the “profoundly intimate” pictures, had 24 hours to comply with the order or face a penalty of $13,000 for every day it delayed doing so. The court also said the French magazine would be fined $13,000 every time it republished or distributed the offending images.
However, the judges said it was not within their powers to prevent the magazine from reprinting the edition containing the photographs. Closer has already declared that it has no intention of doing so.
The royal couple was said to have been “shocked and troubled” by the photos, which they termed a “grotesque” invasion of privacy.
At a hearing Monday, their lawyer, Aurelien Hammelle, requested a court injunction and reminded the panel of three judges that the pictures had been taken Sept. 5, almost 15 years to the day that William’s mother, Princess Diana, had died in a “morbid, cynical and pointless chase” by paparazzi in Paris.
Hammelle angrily rejected suggestions that the prince and Middleton had brought the scandal on themselves by complaining about the photos. “Where’s the morality in that?” he said.
But Closer’s attorney, Delphine Pando, said that the furor over the pictures was a “disproportionate response” to an “ordinary scene.” She insisted that the couple had been “clearly visible from the road” from where the photographs were taken, even though the private villa, which belongs to one of the prince’s relatives, sits several hundred yards away.