Court to rule on photographs
A French court will announce tomorrow whether it will enforce an injunction that Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate have sought against magazine Closer to prevent further publication of topless photos of her.
In an affair that has rocked Britain and reawakened a debate on privacy laws, lawyers for the royal couple are seeking damages from Closer and have filed a separate complaint against a photographer that could lead to a criminal case.
The couple want to stop Closer from selling its photographs to any other media, including on the Internet.
An official at the Nanterre court, near Paris, said the decision would be handed down tomorrow.
Copies of Closer's Friday edition flew off the shelves in France, snapped up by collectors, British tourists and curious French readers, as controversy over the photos raged.
"The stock has run out," said newspaper vendor Jeremy Alluard, adding that his 30 copies of the magazine had sold out in an hour and a half. "There's no way of getting any more at the depot, there are no more to be had," he said.
A second vendor, Omar Abdel, said he had sold many copies to British tourists who explained they were unable to get hold of the weekly in Britain.
Buckingham Palace is also seeking damages from Closer's publisher, Italian company Mondadori, owned by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is also no stranger to media intrusion.
Closer defended its publication of a dozen long-lens shots of the duchess on the balcony of a secluded villa which show her slipping off her bikini top, relaxing topless on a sun lounger and pulling down her bikini bottoms as her husband applies lotion.
William's office branded the photos a "grotesque and totally unjustified" invasion of their privacy.
Britain's tabloid papers, fighting for their reputations after a series of recent scandals, have refrained from publishing the pictures, even though they are available on the Internet and in the pages of a tabloid in neighbouring Ireland.
Italian gossip magazine Chi printed a 26-page special edition dedicated to the photos today.
William and Kate appeared animated and relaxed as they toured a cultural village exhibition in Honiara, capital of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific.
Alfonso Signorini, the editor of Chi said: “The fact that these are the future rulers of England makes the article more interesting and topical.
“This is a deserving topic because it shows in a completely natural way the daily life of a very famous, young and modern couple in love.” French Closer defended publication, saying in a statement: “The photos we selected are by no means degrading.
“They show a young couple on vacation, beautiful, love, modern in their normal life.”
The Irish Daily Star’s decision to publish drew anger from its joint owners Northern and Shell and Independent News and Media (INM), who both denied responsibility.