There are certain people not to cross and the British Royals are such people. The paparazzi who took topless photos of Kate Middleton in 2012 are learning that the hard way as the royals have taken them to court and are demanding a compensation of £1.3 million for breach of privacy.
Over four years ago, celebrity magazine, Closer, and French newspapers released half-naked photos of the Duchess of Cambridge taken while she sunbathed topless at a chateau in Luberon region.
Soon after it was shared by the magazine, the photos went viral and the royals were really furious about it. They immediately took legal action against the culprits, which includes; the editor of Closer; Ernesto Mauri, chief executive of Italian publisher Mondadori, the magazine’s owner; and two photographers from a Paris agency who are suspected of taking the pictures.
The royal family revealed that snapping and publishing the photos were a ‘grotesque’ breach of privacy and sued them in a French court.
The defendants appeared at a court hearing in the Paris suburb of Nanterre to answer charges brought under French privacy laws.
The two photographers, Cyril Moreau and Dominique Jacovides were present in the courtroom at the tribunal de Nanterre on Tuesday but denied taking the photos. They claimed they were unable to find where the royals were staying and kept driving around looking for them. Mobile records, however, show that the two photographers were within the vicinity of the house at the time the photos were taken.
Paul-Albert Iweins, a lawyer representing Closer magazine tried to justify the publication of the photos on the grounds of public interest, saying that the pictures disproved rumours circulating at the time that Middleton might be anorexic.
He argued that the photos did not constitute a breach of privacy and cast them in a positive light. On the other hand, Jean Veil, lawyer for the Duchess of Cambridge, said the article which accompanied the photos was only a pretext for publishing the pictures.
Ernesto Mauri, 70, chief executive of publishing group Mondadori which produces Closer, faces one charge of using a document obtained by a breach of privacy, as does Marc Auburtin, 56, who was La Provence’s publishing director at the time. Laurence Piau, 50, editor of Closer magazine in France, is charged with complicity.
Another photographer was present in court and stood in the dock with the other two. Valerie Suau, 53, who was a photographer for La Provence, is said to have taken photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge in her swimwear which were printed in La Provence. She admitted to taking the photos but told the court she did not intend to breach the royals’ privacy.
Closer magazine was banned from printing any further images by a court in Paris after the royal couple launched their legal proceeding. The case is still ongoing and the royals are demanding compensation. The court is expected to reach a verdict on July 4.