The editor of the magazine that ran exclusive shots of the Duchess of Cambridge topless on Friday has defended their publication on the grounds that “they are not shocking”.
Speaking to the AFP news agency, Laurence Pieau, who edits the French edition of Closer, 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.”
Pieau has not disclosed how much the magazine paid for the shots but admitted that the publishers would sell them on to other magazines around the world.
"One shouldn't dramatise these pictures," said Pieau. "The reaction has been a little disproportionate. It is a young couple that has just been married. They are in love. They are beautiful. She is the princess of the 21st century."
The pictures, which were captured by “a professional photographer” with whom the magazine had “previously worked”, were taken while the Duchess was sun bathing on the terrace of the Viscount Linley villa in Provence, southern France. The photographer reportedly took the pictures from a nearby road.
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."
A teaser for the shots ran on the Closer website on Thursday evening. It read: "Discover the incredible pictures of the future Queen of England as you've never seen her before ... and as you will never see her again!"
Social networks have reacted angrily to publication of the shots, with Pieau's Twitter account the focus for vilification from around the world.
According to a Palace spokesman, Kate and Wills, who are currently on a tour of Southeast Asia, were "hugely saddened to learn that a French publication and a photographer have invaded their privacy in such a grotesque and totally unjustifiable manner”.
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