The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have launched legal action for breach of privacy against the publishers of Closer magazine in France after it published topless pictures of Kate, St James's Palace has confirmed.

The royal couple reacted with "anger and disbelief" after the pictures began circulating late on Thursday night.

kate middleton

Kate gave her first speech on foreign soil at Hospis Malaysia on Thursday, championing the cause of palliative care

Their treatment was compared with the worst experiences of Diana, Princess of Wales at the hands of the paparazzi, in a strongly worded statement issued by Clarence House.

They said Kate and William, who are currently on a Diamond Jubilee tour of the Far East, were "hugely saddened to learn that a French publication and a photographer have invaded their privacy in such a grotesque and totally unjustifiable manner.

kate middleton

Kate is currently on a Diamond Jubilee tour of the Far East

"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."

The editor of the French Closer magazine defended her decision to publish the exclusive shots of the Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing topless at Viscount Linley's villa in Provence.

Speaking to the AFP news agency, Laurence Pieau said: “These photos are not in the least shocking. They show a young woman sunbathing topless, like the millions of women you see on beaches.”

laurence pieau

Laurence Pieau has defended publication of the shots

"They were visible from the street," said Pieau, adding: "These are pictures that are full of joy. They are not degrading. Similarities have been drawn with the pictures of Harry. They are not similar. These are not degrading."

Social networks have reacted angrily to publication of the shots, with Pieau's Twitter account the focus for vilification from around the world.


David Stone
Very disappointed by and the rest of them at French Closer magazine. Disgusting. Remember what happened to Diana?


The Beanolizer!!
A world with no privacy is a sad place. The justification by for using the photos of Kate is beyond ridiculous! It's


Elliot Selwood
if you're ever wondering what's wrong with the worlds media - its people like you. Give some respect.


James Chalmers
Let's get the pap boys outside Laurence Pieau's house. Vile woman.


Jack Organ
Most shocking thing I've discovered about Closer's immoral and disgusting behaviour is Laurence Pieau is a woman!

Closer magazine UK sought to distance itself even further from their French counterparts following the announcing of legal proceedings.

In a statement released on Friday night, they said they had "complained in the strongest terms to the licensee of Closer France, over the publication by them of photographs of their Royal Highnesses, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge.

"We deplore the publication of these intrusive and offensive pictures and have asked that Closer France takes these pictures down immediately from its website and desist from publishing any further pictures.

"Bauer Media and Closer UK regards publication of these photographs as a gross intrusion of their Royal Highness’ privacy.

"Like our readers we are appalled and regret the pain the publication of these photographs has caused."

SEE ALSO

READ THE ROYAL STATEMENT IN FULL

Kate And Wills Tour Of The Far East Day 4

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  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge depart from Kuala Lumpur Airport to travel to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge depart from Kuala Lumpur Airport to travel to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duchess of Cambridge departs from Kuala Lumpur Airport to travel to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, with the Duke of Cambridge, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duchess of Cambridge departs from Kuala Lumpur Airport to travel to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, with the Duke of Cambridge, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Britain's Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge talks to people in the crowd during a walk through a central city park in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. Prince William and Kate are in Malaysia for a three-day visit as part of a tour to mark Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee. (AP Photo/Justine Guyton)

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duchess of Cambridge attends a Diamond Jubilee Tea Party at the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, with the Duke of Cambridge, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge drink tea during a Diamond Jubilee Tea Party at the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duchess of Cambridge attends a Diamond Jubilee Tea Party at the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, with the Duke of Cambridge, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duchess of Cambridge attends a Diamond Jubilee Tea Party at the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, with the Duke of Cambridge, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duchess of Cambridge attends a Diamond Jubilee Tea Party at the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, with the Duke of Cambridge, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duchess of Cambridge attends a Diamond Jubilee Tea Party at the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, with the Duke of Cambridge, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duchess of Cambridge attends a Diamond Jubilee Tea Party at the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, with the Duke of Cambridge, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    A Diamond Jubilee tea that was drunk by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a Diamond Jubilee Tea Party at the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duchess of Cambridge attends a Diamond Jubilee Tea Party at the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, with the Duke of Cambridge, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend a Diamond Jubilee Tea Party at the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duchess of Cambridge visits the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, with the Duke of Cambridge, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duke of Cambridge takes off his shoes watched by Duchess of Cambridge prior to entering the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit a cultural fair at Kuala Lumpur City Centre Park, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duchess of Cambridge visits the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, with the Duke of Cambridge, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duchess of Cambridge visits the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, with the Duke of Cambridge, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duchess of Cambridge visits the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, with the Duke of Cambridge, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duchess of Cambridge visits a cultural fair at Kuala Lumpur City Centre Park, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, with the Duke of Cambridge, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duchess of Cambridge visits the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, with the Duke of Cambridge, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duchess of Cambridge visits the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, with the Duke of Cambridge, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duchess of Cambridge visits the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, with the Duke of Cambridge, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit a cultural fair at Kuala Lumpur City Centre Park, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit a cultural fair at Kuala Lumpur City Centre Park, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duchess of Cambridge visits a cultural fair at Kuala Lumpur City Centre Park, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, with the Duke of Cambridge, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duchess of Cambridge visits a cultural fair at Kuala Lumpur City Centre Park, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, with the Duke of Cambridge, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duchess of Cambridge visits the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, with the Duke of Cambridge, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit a cultural fair at Kuala Lumpur City Centre Park, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit a cultural fair at Kuala Lumpur City Centre Park, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duchess of Cambridge visits the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, with the Duke of Cambridge, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duchess of Cambridge visits the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, with the Duke of Cambridge, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duchess of Cambridge visits the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, with the Duke of Cambridge, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge sign a visitors book at the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duchess of Cambridge visits the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, with the Duke of Cambridge, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duchess of Cambridge visits the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, with the Duke of Cambridge, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duchess of Cambridge visits the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, with the Duke of Cambridge, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duchess of Cambridge visits the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, with the Duke of Cambridge, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific - Day Four

    The Duchess of Cambridge visits the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific, with the Duke of Cambridge, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Prince William, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge

    Prince William and his wife Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, center, take a walk through a central city park in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

  • Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge

    Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, left, shakes hands with a woman in the crowd during a walk through a central city park in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)