Kate Middleton’s topless photos: Do royals and celebrities really have right to privacy?

Kate Middleton’s topless photos: Do royals and celebrities really have right to privacy?

London : United Kingdom | Sep 14, 2012 at 10:44 AM PDT
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Kate Middleton Topless Photos Surface

A French gossip magazine has caused quite a furor with the publication today of a bunch of topless photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge when she was vacationing privately with husband Prince William, in the southern French region of Provence last week.

Buckingham Palace has accepted the authenticity of the photos taken deviously by the paparazzi from long distance, one of which contains a photograph showing a topless Duchess Kate apparently applying sunscreen lotion on her husband’s back.

BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt reports that royal officials accept the photographs published by Closer magazine are genuine, but the royal couple is furious at this invasion of their privacy. "They believe a ‘red line’ has been crossed. The couple cannot believe someone would take such photos and publish them," reported Hunt.

The print edition of Closer magazine has also a teaser posted on the magazine website last night that read: "World Exclusive; Kate and William in Provence: Oh My God!” Alongside it is published a pixilated image of Duchess Kate wearing a two-piece bikini, apparently about to remove her bikini top.

Closer magazine on its website claimed it had some "incredible pictures of the future Queen of England as you've never seen her … and as you'll never see her again!" The magazine's editor, Laurence Pieau, pontificated glibly that Prince Harry would now feel "less alone" after the issue hit the stands. According to the Closer editor, the photos show a "fully topless" Kate, with her nipples showing clearly.

A royal source stated that both Wills and Kate were very distressed by the news that the French magazine had published the photos. "It's very disappointing; it's very saddening, we have turned the clock back 15 years." The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are hugely saddened over the "grotesque and unjustifiable invasion of privacy" by a magazine which published "topless photos" of Catherine, said a royal spokesperson.

The royal couple was holidaying on the terrace of the Autet Chateau in Provence, owned by the Queen's nephew Viscount Linley, when the photos were taken using a camera with a very long lens. "We have always maintained the position that the Duke and Duchess deserve their privacy, not the least when they are holidaying in their own swimming pool," a royal source said.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are currently in the middle of a tour in Malaysia as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. The publication of the pictures is sure to cast a shadow on the young royals’ tour. The publishing of Duchess Kate’s topless images has undoubtedly enraged St James's Palace, which tries at all times to protect William, Kate and Harry's privacy.

The media in UK has tacitly always respected the royals’ privacy, not publishing any controversial pictures of them. This time around too, respecting William and Kate’s privacy, they have refrained from publishing the latest hot pictures of Duchess Kate. Most of the world media have followed suit, with a few recent exceptions.

Last month, naked pictures of Prince Harry while partying in Las Vegas were widely posted online and in the media. With this latest bunch of Kate’s topless photos, the British royals have once again fallen prey to the paparazzi photographers and become tabloid fodder. It now remains to be seen what they will do in the matter.

Under French law, it’s required that the media get permission of the person photographed before publishing their images in the media. However, of late the law has been largely ignored, with fines being just a paltry sum.

The usual policy of the British royals has been to do nothing in the matter and let the public decide one way or other about the character of the person surreptitiously taking photos of scantily clad royals sunbathing on a private property. However, this time the enraged royals may just decide to initiate legal proceedings against the errant magazine and paparazzi photographer to ensure that this kind of breach does not occur in future.

Now for some honest questions for the Duchess of Cambridge—and for that matter other celebrities, too. Didn’t the ever sensible, level-headed Kate realize that when she chose to sunbath topless while on holiday, it would be an opportunity no photographer would walk away from? One is not passing a judgment or criticizing the Duchess, as it’s not her fault. After all she was beside her husband enjoying some private time.

However, if she introspects, she would realize that being a famous woman she has kind of forfeited the right to sunbath topless on a holiday. Doing so will mean becoming easy prey to the greedy long lens of the paparazzi, which is always on the hunt for its latest victims. (That is exactly what happened to her this time.)

The only place where Duchess Kate can consider herself really safe sauntering around topless or in complete buff is in the privacy of her own bedroom. As her well-wisher, one can only hope Duchess Kate will take care not to let this incident be repeated. After all, her innumerable admirers’ world over most certainly would not want her to suffer any more ignominy or embarrassment in future.

Sources/References: Au.lifestyle.com / Ohnotheydidnt.livejournal / Daily Mail

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge "Kate Middleton" are hugely saddened over the "grotesque and unjustifiable invasion of privacy" by a magazine which published "topless photos" of Catherine, a royal spokesman says.
Nina Rai is based in Mangaluru, Karnataka, India, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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