Kate Middleton Photos a 'Brutal Display:' French Closer Slammed With Fines, Ordered to Give Back Kate Topless Pics
It looks like publishing topless photos of Kate Middleton goes in nobody's favor.
According to CNN, the French Closer magazine has been fined and ordered not to distribute the magazine in print or online, a French court ruled Tuesday.
The court ordered Closer magazine to hand over the original photos to the royal family within 24 hours of the ruling and to pay them 2,000 euros (about $2,600).
The magazine must pay a further 10,000 euros (about $13,100) a day if it is late in handing over the photos.
And a French prosecutor opened a preliminary criminal investigation into the incident, the Nanterre prosecutor's office said Tuesday.
Catherine and her husband, Prince William, the second in line to the throne, "welcome the injunction that's been granted. They always believed the law was broken and that they were entitled to their privacy," the palace said.
"These snapshots which showed the intimacy of a couple, partially naked on the terrace of a private home, surrounded by a park several hundred meters from a public road, and being able to legitimately assume that they are protected from passers-by, are by nature particularly intrusive," the French ruling decreed, according to FOX News. "(They) were thus subjected to this brutal display the moment the cover appeared."
Separately, the board of a newspaper that published the topless photos will meet Tuesday to consider closing the paper, it said.
The topless photos already spread to two other publications: the Irish Daily Star newspaper and Chi magazine, an Italian gossip magazine.
According to TMZ, the magazine reportedly has 200 photos of the Duchess sunbathing on a balcony in France.
"There can be no motivation for this action other than greed," a St. James Palace spokesperson told the BBC, in regards to the Irish publication.
Northern and Shell, the owners of the Irish Daily Star, said they disagreed with the newspaper's decision to publish the photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge and "very much regret the distress it has caused," The Associated Press reported.
According to the Huffington Post, the Italian gossip magazine owned by former Premier Silvio Berlusconi published a 26-page spread of topless photos of Prince William's wife Kate on Monday despite legal action in France against the French magazine that published them first.
Chi hit newsstands on Monday, featuring a montage of photos taken while the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were on vacation at a relative's home in the south of France last month. They included the 14 pictures published by the popular French magazine Closer, which like Chi is owned by Berlusconi's Mondadori publishing house.
Chi editor Alfonso Signorini told Sky News that he did nothing illegal, according to The Guardian.
"I published them with a conviction that they are pictures of a modern contemporary duchess," he told Sky News, which said that off-camera Signorini had described her as "resembling a Greek goddess".
Signorini said it was legal in Italy to take photographs on "a public thoroughfare" and the photos could just as easily been taken by a member of the public standing on the road bordering Lord Linley's Chateau d'Autet.
Closer's editor-in-chief Laurence Pieau described the photos as a "beautiful series" that showed a couple in love and were in no way degrading. She said the magazine had more intimate shots from the same series that it opted not to publish.
"There's been an over-reaction to these photos. What we see is a young couple, who just got married, who are very much in love, who are splendid," Pieau told French BFM television.
"She's a real 21st Century princess," she added: "It's a young woman who is topless, the same as you can see on any beach in France or around the world."
Kate Middleton Topless: French Closer Magazine Calls Royal Couple 'Hugely Saddened' Response an 'Over-Reaction'
Kate Middleton Photos Continue: Chi Magazine, Irish Daily Star Feature Topless Kate Pics; Royal Palace is Furious