In September 2012, Kate Middleton and Prince Harry were shocked to discover grainy, topless photos of Kate published in the French magazine, Closer. The photos were reportedly taken in the same month — as the royal couple vacationed in southeastern France — according to the Telegraph.
Five years after the photos’ publication, in September of 2017, the courts imposed huge fines for those who were responsible. This included a €45,000 fine for the magazine editor, Laurence Pieau, and publisher, Ernesto Mauri. Additionally, the photographers held responsible for the lewd snaps were ordered to pay €5,000 fines. Their names are Cyril Moreau and Dominique Jacovides, and they denied taking the photos, detailed the New Straits Times.
The court also warned the photographers that additional offenses would lead to another €5,000 fine. Additionally, the magazine was slapped with a €100,000 fine that they’re required to pay to Kate and William. Originally, the royal couple was suing for €1.5 million for a “serious breach of privacy.”
On Wednesday, Closer — and the photographers in question — requested an appeal in court over the fine amounts. The magazine said that the pictures “were in the public interest and conveyed a ‘positive image’ of the royals.” Moreover, the lawyers said that the fines were “excessive for a privacy case.” However, that failed to sway the judge, who upheld the original fine amounts for the magazine, employees, and photographers.
Meanwhile, the lawyer for the accused photographers, Francois Blisten, said that they plan to argue for acquittal based on insufficient evidence linking the pair to the photos.
The scandal reportedly hit very close to home for Prince William, since many people believe his mother — Princess Diana — was killed due to paparazzi chasing her.
A statement by Prince William during the trial proceedings included the following.
“The clandestine way in which these photographs were taken was particularly shocking to us as it breached our privacy.”
The Prince further elaborated on the situation, described People.
“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.”
Additionally, the St. James Palace released a statement when the photos were released, condemning the act.
“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.”
Luckily for the royal couple, the courts are upholding the original fine amounts imposed on the French magazine, making it clear that breaches of privacy of the British royal family are no laughing matter. It remains to be seen what will happen, given the photographers’ lawyer is attempting to get the pair released from both fines and the attendant charges.
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