Duchess of Cambridge topless photo case: Closer ordered by French court to pay £91,700 in damages

Court rules the photographs were an invasion of privacy

Maya Oppenheim
Tuesday 05 September 2017 13:16
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The court in Nanterre in west Paris ruled the photographs, which were taken with a zoom lens, were an invasion of privacy
The court in Nanterre in west Paris ruled the photographs, which were taken with a zoom lens, were an invasion of privacy

A French court has ordered Closer magazine to pay €100,000 (£91,700) in damages over topless photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge.

The publication's editor, Laurence Pieau, and owner, Ernesto Mauri, must also each fork out the maximum fine of €45,000 (£41,300).

Photographs of the Duchess and the Duke of Cambridge holidaying in France snapped by paparazzi were published in September 2012.

The court in Nanterre in west Paris has now ruled the photographs, which were taken with a zoom lens, were an invasion of privacy.

While the amount awarded in damages is relatively high for a French court it was significantly lower than the €1.5m the couple’s legal team had sought.

Several British papers turned down offers to buy the photos but they appeared in the French version of the magazine Closer.

They were later reproduced in several other European publications including Ireland's Daily Star, Italian magazine Chi, which is also owned by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Mondadori media group, and celebrity magazines in Denmark and Sweden.

The royal couple filed a criminal complaint for invasion of privacy and got an injunction barring further use of the images which showed the royal couple relaxing by a swimming pool at a private chateau owned by Viscount Linley, the Queen’s nephew, in the Luberon, Provence.

The damages will be paid by the two Closer magazine executives and photographers Cyril Moreau and Dominique Jacovides who had denied taking the photos.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's lawyer previously said the published photos were particularly distressing for the pair as it reminded them of difficult memories of Princess Diana's death in a car crash in Paris in 1997 while being pursued by paparazzi.

“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,” a spokesperson for the Prince of Wales’ office said at the time.

News the five-year-old case had finally wound to a close comes a day after it was revealed the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child.

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