Recently published photos of Kate Middleton bikini-clad on the beach in her fourth month of pregnancy have upset the royal family; however, the magazine that initially published the photos has released a statement defending its actions.

Italian magazine Chi argues that it was within its rights to release the photos of Kate and Prince William vacationing on the secluded Caribbean island of Mustique because the photos were taken by members of the public, and not paparazzi.

The images feature a four-months' pregnant Kate, showing her budding stomach in a bright blue halter-neck bikini, walking along the beach with William. In Italian, Chi titled its spread, “Kate and William – honeymoon for three.”

The private island of Mustique consists of 2.2 square miles of 100 villas; however, the beach that Kate and William were on is public.

Paparazzi are banned on Mustique, and the island’s private security team said it didn't see anyone who didn't belong where the Duke and Duchess relaxed on the beach, the Daily Mail has reported.

“We cannot talk about a violation of privacy when we publish pictures of public people in a public place. The photographs of Kate and William were bought from an international photo agency," Chi's editor in chief, Alfonso Signorini, told Us Weekly in a statement.

The latest controversy has drawn comparisons to several other invasions of privacy by the royal family, including the release of a photograph of Princess Diana as she lay dying after the paparazzi crash that ultimately took her life. Chi also published that photo.

The magazine was one of several to publish photos of Middleton topless, taken in September 2012 while she and William were on vacation in the south of France.

"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," royal press secretary, Miguel Head, said in a statement about the current controversy.

"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."

Signorini said that the public factor absolves the magazine of any wrongdoing in this situation.

"You can't compare this with the media persecution of Lady Diana. I cannot stress enough that the photos were taken in a public place, not private property," he told Us Weekly.

Amid reports that the photos have been sold to some U.S. publishers, Us Weekly has said that it won't run the photos out of respect for the royal couple.

After the recent publication of the photos abroad, St. James' Palace released a statement, calling the editorial, “a clear breach of the couple’s privacy. "We are disappointed that photographs of the Duke and Duchess on a private holiday look likely to be published overseas.”

In addition to the U.S., publications in France and Germany have reportedly also gained rights to the photos.

Australian magazine Woman’s Day has also published the photos in a recent edition. Editor Fiona Connolly said the magazine saw nothing wrong with publishing the photos, adding, Australians do not consider the royal couple a “protected species.”

“The British have a great deal more sensitivity to royals than we do here in Oz,” Connolly told News Ltd.

“As Australians, we see this every day. We see pregnant women in bikinis on the beach -- and a public one at that -- so we are a lot less sensitive here.”