The publication of topless photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge by a French magazine has been condemned as “grotesque and totally unjustifiable” by St James’s Palace.
In a strongly-worded statement, the palace compared it with the “worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales”.
Lawyers were being consulted by royal aides after the images showing the future Queen wearing just a pair of bikini bottoms were published in the French magazine Closer.
William and Kate were said to be feeling “anger and disbelief” at the publication of the photographs, taken while on a private holiday.
The St James’s Palace statement said: “Their Royal Highnesses have been hugely saddened to learn that a French publication and a photographer have invaded their privacy in such a grotesque and totally unjustifiable manner.
“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.
“Their Royal Highnesses had every expectation of privacy in the remote house. It is unthinkable that anyone should take such photographs, let alone publish them. Officials acting on behalf of their Royal Highnesses are consulting with lawyers to consider what options may be available to the Duke and Duchess.”
William and Kate are midway through a Diamond Jubilee tour of the Far East, which had been going well but is now likely to be overshadowed by the controversy. The photographs were taken last week while the couple were staying in Provence at a chateau owned by Lord Linley, the Queen’s nephew, ahead of their trip.
St James’s Palace said the royal couple would not let the controversy distract them. A spokesman said: “The Duke and Duchess remain focused currently on their tour of Singapore, Malaysia, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu on behalf of HM the Queen.”
Publishers of the UK edition of Closer distanced themselves from the French magazine. They said the two publications made “entirely independent editorial decisions”, and pointed out that the French magazine is published by a separate, Italian company. The UK’s Closer magazine said it had no intention of publishing the topless pictures and had not been offered them.
Restaurant fined £10,000 for hiring illegal workers
A Crewkerne restaurant has received a civil penalty of £10,000 after the UK Border Agency found two illegal workers employed there.
UK Border Agency officers raided Bengal Fusion, Market Square, on 5th January 2012 and arrested two members of staff from Bangladesh.
Immigration checks revealed that the men, aged 47 and 48, had stayed in the UK illegally after their visas expired.
Bengal Fusion was issued with a potential fine notice for employing illegal workers and given an opportunity to prove that the correct right-to-work checks were made before the men were taken on.
They failed to do so and have been handed a fine of £10,000.
Kenny Chapman, local immigration team, South West, UK Border Agency said: “Employers are responsible for carrying out document checks and we work with businesses to let them know what they need to do.
“Illegal working has damaging social and economic consequences for the UK. It undercuts businesses that operate within the law, undermines British workers and exploits migrant workers. The message is clear for employers, we will not tolerate illegal working and we will take firm action against those who ignore the rules.”
The 48-year-old restaurant worker was removed from the UK in June. The 47-year-old has an outstanding immigration claim under consideration. If he is found to have no right to remain in the country he will also face removal.
By The Press Association