The editor of the Italian tabloid that published topless photos of Kate Middletown is bemused and surprised by the outrage the pictures have stirred up in Britain and elsewhere.
According to the Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, Alfonso Signorini, the editor of Chi, quipped: “I’m never going to publish topless pics of the Queen [Elizabeth]. Promise.”
On a more serious note, Signorini explained that the photos are rather tame.
“They’re fabulous photos, but all too politically correct,” he said. “So middle-class, sadly. If I’d had any even more scandalous shots, I’d have happily published them.”
Chi published a huge spread of 150 photographs (covering 26 pages) of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing in a private chateau in Provence in the south of France.
Some of the photographs in question were originally published by a French publication called “Closer.” However, Signorini indicated that Chi printed some more “intimate” shots that even Closer refrained from publishing.
“Nothing over the top. Kate comes out of it as a modern princess doing what not even [Princess] Diana dared to do,” he noted.
Chi is owned by the Mondadori group which is controlled by the family of former Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi. Closer is also owned by Mondadori.
Signorini also criticized the British royal family for taking legal action against Closer.
“Legal action? What for? Lèse-majesté?” he said.
“The photos weren’t sneaked in the royal residence. They were taken from the road the terrace overlooks, from where any passer-by could have seen what was going on. And since Kate Middleton is not exactly Alice in Wonderland, she should have been expecting it.”
Signorini added: I don’t understand why there wasn’t more of a fuss when photos of Prince Harry in the nude were published. Why should Kate’s breasts be treated any differently from Harry’s [private parts]?”
Berlusconi’s daughter Marina, has also defended the published photos.
“What was my father supposed to do? Ride roughshod over Mondadori’s editorial freedom out of respect for the Duchess’ privacy while simultaneously serving his own interests as a politician?” she told the Repubblica newspaper.
“Mondadori was just doing its job. My father concerns himself with politics and has other things to think about apart from a photo feature”
According to the Daily Telegraph newspaper of UK, Signorini also said that the pictures do not violate Italian laws.
"These series of factors; the public interest, the non-morbid nature of the photos, the respect of the dignity of the subject and the non-violation of privacy because they were taken from a public space, means that the photos are absolutely within the confines of the Italian law," he said.
In addition, Signorini claimed the whole matter amounts to much ado about thing.
"I hoped that Kate could demonstrate an element of modernity, to show an open mind with these photos of a monarchy that is absolutely current. Why should we all imagine that the royals wear a burka or a one-piece swimsuit to sunbathe?,” he asked.
"They are human beings like the rest of us, fallible and not perfect, if you see going topless as making a mistake, that makes me laugh, we are in 2012.”
John Major, the former Prime Minister of the UK and guardian of prince William, was asked what he would say to Berlusconi about the photographs.
“This is all very distasteful,” he said. “It might not be a good conversation”.
Palash has worked as a business journalist for 21 years in New York.