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Royal lawyers seek photos charges
Lawyers for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have asked France's criminal prosecutors to consider charging the photographer who took topless photographs of the Duchess.
William and Kate appeared animated and relaxed as they toured a cultural village exhibition in Honiara, capital of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, and did not bat an eyelid when they came face to face with a group of topless dancers.
Their appearance came as St James's Palace confirmed that a criminal complaint over the photographs had been lodged on Monday morning, with a civil case seeking damages and an injunction preventing further publication due to be launched later in Paris.
"We can confirm that a criminal complaint has been made to the French prosecution department today," a spokeswoman for St James's Palace said. "The complaint concerns the taking of photographs of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge whilst on holiday and the publication of those photographs in breach of their privacy."
The legal action comes as Italian gossip magazine Chi pressed ahead and published a 26-page spread of topless photos of Kate despite the legal action on behalf of the couple in France. Now the complaint is made, it is up to the French prosecutor to investigate and possibly lay charges over the notorious images published last week in Closer magazine.
Closer is published by the Mondadori media group, which also publishes Chi. The palace has said that no decision has been taken on separate legal proceedings in Italy.
French Closer, which is run by a different company from the British version, caused outrage when it published the images of the couple enjoying private holiday moments at Chateau d'Autet, near Aix-en-Provence. The decision was roundly condemned but did not put off the Irish Daily Star carrying the images on Saturday, much to its owners' and the palace's fury.
The Duchess's distress was increased when Chi announced that it would publish more images of the pair on holiday. Alfonso Signorini, the editor of Chi, which is owned by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, said: "The fact that these are the future rulers of England makes the article more interesting and topical. This is a deserving topic because it shows in a completely natural way the daily life of a very famous, young and modern couple in love."
French Closer defended publication, saying in a statement: "The photos we selected are by no means degrading. They show a young couple on vacation, beautiful, love, modern in their normal life." The Irish Daily Star's decision to publish drew anger from its joint owners Northern and Shell and Independent News and Media, who both denied responsibility.
A source said that William and Kate, who are staying overnight on the remote island resort of Tavanipupu in the Solomon Islands, were still at the centre of events and in control of them. The source said: "For the Duke and Duchess, it's very much a case of focusing on the tour, though they are being kept aware of the developments and directing a lot of the developments."