Closer ordered to hand over photos
A French court has ordered the the country’s Closer magazine to hand over all copies of topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge and blocked further publication of the images.
Under the ruling, the gossip magazine cannot publish the images of an intimate moment in the south of France any further, including on its website and tablet application. The magazine published 14 photos of a partially clad Kate in its pages on Friday.
Closer must hand over the negatives and pay a €10,000 fine each time the images are published again, the French court ruled. The ruling was issued today in Nanterre, near Paris, against the magazine owned by the Berlusconi family's Arnoldo Mondadori Editore.
The magazine was also ordered to pay the duchess €2,000 in expenses for the case. Aurelien Hamelle, the royal family's lawyer, had asked for €5,000 at a hearing yesterday.
The pictures have also been published in Ireland and Italy, but today’s ruling only affects the French publisher.
In a scandal that has incensed much of the British public and rekindled a debate on privacy laws, lawyers for the royal couple had sought damages from the weekly gossip magazine after paparazzi snapped pictures of the duchess from a distance while she sunbathed topless with her husband at a villa in southern France.
The couple have also taken a civil suit against Closer over the photos, which show Kate Middleton slipping off her bikini top and relaxing on a sun lounger.
Buckingham Palace has called the photo spread a "grotesque" invasion of the royal couple's privacy.
British newspapers, fighting for their reputation after a string of scandals, have agreed not to publish the images, as has the British edition of Closer which is managed separately, and instead are condemning the photographer.
The Sun tabloid screamed: Find Le Rat on its front page today and said the photographer would be hunted down and faced jail.
Yesterday, the publisher of the Irish Daily Star suspended its editor after the newspaper broke ranks with its Irish and British peers, publishing pages from Closer with the photographs in its Saturday edition.