Kate Middleton and Prince William are said to be “saddened” and “very angered” that a magazine has made the decision to publish photographs allegedly of the Duchess sunbathing topless on holiday.
The front page of the latest issue of French version of Closer magazine shows a heavily pixelated photograph of a woman with dark hair, peeling off a white bandeau bikini top as she sunbathes beside a pool, which the magazine is claiming is the Duchess of Cambridge.
The snaps are thought to have been taken using a long-lens camera while the Duke and Duchess enjoyed a brief break in Provence, immediately ahead of their current Diamond Jubilee tour on behalf of the Queen. The couple had been staying at chateau owned by Lord Linley, the Queen’s nephew, in Luberon.
The holiday was meant to provide the couple with some much needed quality, private time together before they embarked on their latest official engagement, in what has been an extremely busy year for the Royal Family.
But now Kate and William have been left smarting after being notified that the French magazine has published the snaps, showing the Duchess “fully topless”.
Royal officials are now working to verify if the photographs are genuine. If they are, the Palace is expected to consider taking legal action.
A Royal source said: “This is disappointing, saddening and turns the clock back 15 years. We have always maintained the position that the Duke and Duchess deserve their privacy, not least when they are on holiday in their own swimming pool.”
A St James's Palace spokesperson also said that Kate and William are "very angered" and feel a "red line has been crossed".
The couple are thought to have been made aware of the issue at 5am local time in Kuala Lumpur (10am UK time) which they are currently visiting as part of their latest Royal tour.
The website of the French version of Closer magazine currently features the topless photo story as its top article, alongside the headline: “Only in Closer: Kate and William, their very hot holiday in Provence”.
A screenshot of the front page of the magazine, showing the photograph thought to be Kate, accompanies the article along with the following text (translated) which was published as a teaser yesterday (September 13):
“A little over a year after their marriage, the royal couple was offered a romantic getaway, far from the protocol, etiquette in a very garden of Eden. Almost alone in the world ... For Closer was there! Discover a preview of the pictures the world in 24h comment.
“After the holidays olé-olé Prince Harry in Vegas, discover the very sensual shots of Kate Middleton and her husband Prince William. Discover the incredible pictures of the future Queen of England as you've never seen ... and as you never see her again!
“Find out tomorrow exclusively Closer photos that the world did not expect: the Duchess of Cambridge topless on the terrace of a guest house in the Luberon! OMG!”
The article then continues, making jokes about Kate removing her bikini to avoid tan lines.
The photographs are not pixelated inside the actual copy of the magazine which was published today.
The uproar come just weeks after snaps of Prince Harry playing ‘naked billiards’ during a holiday to Las Vegas were published online and later by The Sun newspaper, angering Palace officials.
Last night Closer’s French magazine editor Laurence Pieau wrote on her Twitter page: We will say that after # closer tomorrow, Harry will feel less alone ... cc cc @ @ closerfr ClosR_Luc.”
The publication of these photographs follows the decision made by Australian magazine Woman’s Day in July to publish pictures of the Royal couple strolling along the beach during their honeymoon to the Seychelles in 2011, a move that was said to have left Kate and William "furious".
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