French magazine Closer has been ordered to pay 100,000 euros ($119,200) in damages to Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, after topless photos of her were published in 2012.
A French court ordered Laurence Pieau, an editor, and Ernesto Mauri, the magazine’s owner, to each pay 45,000 euros ($53,600) to the couple for invasion of privacy. Photographers Cyril Moreau and Dominique Jacovides – both of whom denied taking the photos – were each ordered to pay 5,000 euros ($6,000).
The pictures were taken in the summer of 2012 when William and Kate were staying at a remote house of the Queen’s nephew, Viscount David Linley. The photos were taken with a zoom lens as the couple relaxed outside at the private property, out of sight of the public.
Regional newspaper La Provence, which printed a picture of the Duchess in a two-piece bathing suit, was ordered to pay 3,000 euros ($3,575) in damages. The newspaper, which did not publish the topless photos, was also given suspended fines.
Although the court issued maximum fines for invasion of privacy, the amount of damages fell well short of the 1.5 million euros ($1.78 million) sought by the royal couple.
“This incident was a serious breach of privacy, and Their Royal Highnesses felt it essential to pursue all legal remedies,” Kensington Palace said in a statement. “They wished to make the point strongly that this kind of unjustified intrusion should not happen.”
At the time of the publication, a palace spokesperson said the couple was “hugely saddened” by the invasion of privacy and recalled the death of William’s mother, Princess Diana, who was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997 while being pursued by paparazzi.
“The incident is reminiscent of the worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, and all the more upsetting to The Duke and Duchess for being so,” the spokesperson said at the time, adding: “Their Royal Highnesses had every expectation of privacy in the remote house.”
The Reuters news agency reported that lawyers for the French magazine had tried to justify the publication of the photos. They argued that the photos were in the public’s interest, saying they disproved rumors at that time that Kate could be suffering from anorexia.
William and Kate first met at Scotland’s St. Andrew’s University in 2001 and began dating two years later. They became engaged in October 2010 during a private holiday in Kenya and married at London’s Westminster Abbey in April 2011. The royal wedding was watched by hundreds of millions of people around the world.
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