The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are suing for £1.3 million, which is approximately $1.6 million USD, in damages over the topless photos of Catherine that were published in a French magazine and local newspaper.
Six people went on trial this week for publishing the images, which were taken while the Duchess was sunbathing on holiday in the South of France with Prince William. They were printed in French magazine Closer and regional daily paper La Provence in September 2012. The royal couple had been staying at a chateau belonging to Viscount David Linley, the son of Princess Margaret, the late sister of the Queen.
The editor of Closer in France Laurence Pieau, chief executive of the magazine’s owner Ernesto Mauri, and two Paris-based agency photographers Cyril Moreau and Dominique Jacovides are appearing on charges of invasion of privacy and complicity (via The Guardian).
Marc Auburtin, the former publishing director of La Provence, and photographer Valerie Suau face similar charges.
A written statement from William was read out in the west Paris court room, and revealed the Duke's sadness and frustration over the incident. "In September 2012, my wife and I thought that we could go to France for a few days in a secluded villa owned by a member of my family, and thus enjoy our privacy," William's statement read. "We know France and the French and we know that they are, in principle, respectful of private life, including that of their guests. The clandestine way in which these photographs were taken was particularly shocking to us as it breached our privacy."
It's suspected that Moreau and Jacovides took the long-lens photos. After combing through lists of hotel guests and telephone numbers, police confirmed that the two paparazzi were near the chateau at the time of Kate and William's vacation. Both photographers have denied taking the topless pictures.
Meanwhile Pieau defended her decision to publish the images, claiming they were not in the "least shocking."
The publication of the photos shocked and disgusted the nation, and several newspapers rejected an offer to purchase them.
French authorities banned their reproduction and launched an investigation into how they were obtained. But they went on to appear in several other European publications including Italy's Chi, also owned by Mondadori, Ireland's Daily Star, and sister magazines in Sweden and Denmark.
The Duke and Duchess's lawyers immediately launched legal action against the publications. Their lawyers argued that the photos were particularly distressing for the couple because they brought back painful memories of Princess Diana's death, who was killed in a car accident while being pursued by paparazzi.
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.