15:06 17 September 2012
Following the publication of pictures of Kate Middleton sunbathing topless in a private pool, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are set to lodge a criminal complaint in France.
French magazine Closer could be held criminally responsible for invading their privacy after the holidaying Royals were snapped with a large zoom lens from a road which distantly overlooks a private villa they were using at the time.
Under the country's strict privacy laws, offenders can face a fine of £36,000 as well as a year in prison.
A palace spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that a criminal complaint is to be made to the French Prosecution Department.
"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."
In order to prevent further publication, the royals' legal team are - according to Sky News - seeking damages and an injunction against Closer in a civil case. The UK version of Closer is managed by a different editorial team. Closer UK has not published the images and has stated that it has no intention of doing so.
Closer's publisher, Mondadori media group, also owns and syndicates Italian gossip magazine Chi, which published a special edition which showcases images of the royal couple spread over at least 20 pages.
Chi is the same publication which in 2006 published the apparent 'final living photo' of Princess Diana as she was being given oxygen by a paramedic just after the car crash that claimed her life. The fact that Diana's car was being aggressively pursued by paparazzi at the time has soured the Royals' relationship with the media and their lack of respect for privacy.
The Irish Daily Star also published the 'topless Kate' pictures on Saturday while UK newspapers have stayed clear.
The scandalous photographs were taken while the duchess was sunbathing with her husband at the French chateau of the Queen's nephew, Lord Linley, in Provence.
It is expected that Closer's defence will be that the property is visible from the road and that the photographer did not breach the grounds.
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