Royals get injunction over topless images
A FRENCH COURT has banned the celebrity magazine Closer from republishing or distributing topless photographs of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, the wife of Britain’s Prince William.
The injunction, granted by three magistrates in the Paris suburb of Nanterre after a formal complaint by the British royal family, also prevents the magazine from selling the images to other media.
Closer’s publisher, the Mondadori group, must hand over the original photographs within 24 hours or face a daily fine of €10,000, the court said in the civil ruling. The couple are also seeking damages from the weekly over its publication of the photographs, taken while they were on holiday in the south of France, in a five-page spread last Friday.
The judges described the pictures as a “brutal display” of the couple’s private lives. “These snapshots, which showed the intimacy of a couple, partially naked on the terrace of a private home, surrounded by a park several hundred metres from a public road, and being able to legitimately assume they are protected from passers-by, are by nature particularly intrusive,” the ruling stated.
The court ruled that every photograph published in France by Mondadori in future would carry a fine, also of €10,000 per breach. The publisher, owned by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, will also have to pay €2,000 towards legal fees.
In a brief statement, St James’s Palace in London, which had called the photo spread a “grotesque” invasion of the couple’s privacy, welcomed the civil ruling.
British newspapers have opted not to publish the images, as has the British edition of Closer, which is managed separately.
The Irish Daily Star has suspended its editor pending an inquiry into that paper’s decision to print the pictures, while the Italian gossip magazine Chi, also published by Mondadori, ran a 26-page special edition dedicated to the photos on Monday.
The injunction does not cover publications outside France.
The same court separately opened a criminal investigation yesterday into claims a photographer and French Closer breached the privacy of the British couple by publishing the photos.
The court in Nanterre said it would investigate whether there were grounds for criminal charges against the magazine and the photographer. If found guilty, the magazine could be fined up to €45,000 and the editor could be jailed for up to a year.
Applying for the injunction on Monday, Aurélien Hamelle, a lawyer representing the royals, said the scenes captured were intimate and personal.
However, Delphine Pando, representing Closer, claimed the couple’s reaction was disproportionate. She said topless photographs were no longer considered shocking and denied the villa was not in public view.
In a statement posted on its website on Monday, the magazine said none of the pictures it published were degrading. “They show a young couple on holiday – beautiful, loving and modern in their normal life,” it said.