LONDON — A French magazine on Friday published what appeared to be photos of Prince William's wife Kate sunbathing topless at a private house in southern France, prompting a strong condemnation from the royal family.
The couple was "saddened" by the use of the photos, which appear genuine, royal officials said.
The revealing pictures of Kate in Closer, a popular gossip magazine, were blurry and shot from a distance. The publication claimed they were taken on a guesthouse terrace in France where the couple vacationed earlier this month.
"Their Royal Highnesses had every expectation of privacy in the remote house. It is unthinkable that anyone should take such photographs, let alone publish them," a St. James's Palace official in London said. "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 palace official said representatives of the couple were consulting with lawyers. "We feel a line has been crossed with their publication," the official added.
William and Kate, now formally known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, were touring the Far East and South Pacific to mark Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee when the photos were published.
No major British publication carried the photos, including Rupert Murdoch's top-selling U.K. tabloid The Sun, which last month ran photos of a naked Prince Harry cavorting in a Las Vegas hotel room.
Well, the rest of the story is that a guy claiming to be Prince William, Sir Duke of Cambridge (he said it in an English accent) called me to ask for security advice.
"There must be some way to stop people from printing topless pictures of my wife," he hollered. "We can't 'ave every bloke seeing where she has "Touch of Class" tattooed on her sternum, can we now?"
I pondered the topic for a fortnight, as we say across the pond, and then it came to me. I called Willie back.
"Cheerio, Willie," I said. "I say, old man, how about this: if you and your wife don't want naughty pictures of yourselves without any clothes on being taken and published...how about...don't go outside without any clothes on?"
William then asked if I had any ideas about how to stop people from taking pictures of his daffy brother, the Duke of Daffy, from parading around nekkid in Las Vegas hotel rooms.
I said to check back in a fortnight. This one has me stumped.