25/09/2012 13:31 BST

Publication Of Topless Kate Pictures Prompted Death Threats For Editor Laurence Pieau

The editor of French Closer magazine has received death threats after printing topless pictures of Kate, Duchess of Cambridge as a YouGov poll found that one in five Brits have looked at the snaps.

Despite looking them up online or finding them in foreign magazines - UK newspapers refused to publish the pictures - the printing of the images taken at a private villa in Provence proved overwhelmingly unpopular with Britons according to a similar poll last week.

kate and wills

The royal couple were holidaying in the Solomon Islands when the photos first surfaced

French Closer told Sky News Australia that they had received “more than 300 insulting emails of which several contain death threats,” following the publication of the shots.

It said 14 of the messages were so "menacing" they had to involve the police.

According to the Mirror, one of the threats warned editor Laurence Pieau that “instead of a long lens, we’ll get you in the sights of something a bit more powerful.”

laurence pieau

Laurence Pieau has defended publication of the shots

The grainy shots of Kate sunbathing were taken with a long lens camera more than 600m from the villa in Provence. The royal couple have already won a civil case against Closer in the French courts, which granted an injunction banning media from re-publishing the photos.

kate middleton

No British paper has published the pictures and the Irish Daily star attracted criticism for running the shots

The magazine was ordered to hand over all the images in 24 hours, and fined €10,000 for every extra day it takes to comply, according to the ruling from the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Nanterre, Paris.

A separate criminal investigation into charges that Closer and a photographer breached the privacy of the Duke and Duchess by publishing the topless photos has also been launched.

Photo gallery See Gallery

In the criminal suit, the magazine could be fined up to €45,000 and the editor, Laurence Pieau, could be jailed for up to a year.

The YouGov poll showed that nearly three in four of those polled believe Kate is justified in taking the case to the courts.

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

Photo gallery See Gallery

Photo gallery See Gallery

Photo gallery See Gallery

More than half believe the royal family should win the criminal case against the photographer as well, with 61% of those polled thinking that the photographer should be prosecuted for taking the pictures.

As may be expected, more men than women have searched for the topless pictures, with the biggest culprits in the amongst men being in the 18 to 24 age group.

French Closer were the first to publish the pictures, which it claimed were "not in the least shocking" but merely "showed a young woman sunbathing topless, like the millions of women you see on beaches," the editor told AFP.


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have just completed a tour of South East Asia

The Irish Daily Star has also published the pictures, followed by Italian gossip magazine Chi which published a 26-page spread of the topless pictures under the headline 'The Queen Is Nude'.

A Danish and Swedish magazine have also published the shots, as the injunction does not apply to foreign media.