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The French magazine Closer, which published topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge, must hand over the original pictures and pay a 10,000-euro ($13,000) fine each time the images are published again, a French court ruled.
The duchess, Kate, and her husband Prince William had a legitimate expectation of privacy when the photos were taken during their vacation because they were “surrounded by gardens and several hundred meters from a public road,” Judge Jean- Michel Hayat said in the ruling today in Nanterre, France.
The magazine owned by the Berlusconi family’s Arnoldo Mondadori Editore Spa (MN) was sued after it printed a series of photos of the royal couple sunbathing on a private estate in France. The tabloid was ordered to pay Kate 2,000 euros in expenses and an additional 10,000 euros each day it fails to turn over the images.
“With no link to their public or official activities, or to those of the British royal family, these moments cannot be considered a subject of general interest justifying public information,” Hayat said.
Closer published the images last week, prompting responses from the royal family and the U.K. government. Lawmakers called for legal action and British Prime Minister David Cameron, through his spokesman, said he believed the royal couple “are entitled to their privacy.”
Representatives of the royal family in London declined to immediately comment on the ruling today.
The royal family has also asked for a criminal case to be started against the unidentified photographer.
The dispute comes three weeks after News Corp. (NWSA)’s Sun tabloid in Britain broke with traditional practice by publishing images of Prince Harry, William’s brother, naked at a party in Las Vegas. Those photos, initially published online by the U.S. website TMZ.com, may have inspired Closer, lawyers including Caroline Jan, a media specialist at Kingsley Napley in London, have said.
The princes’ mother, Diana Princess of Wales, died in a Paris car crash 15 years ago while being pursued by French tabloid paparazzi on motorbikes.
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