The British Royal Family may take legal action against the French publication that published topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.
According to a report in BBC, Kate and her husband, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, are “furious” over what they view as a "grotesque and unjustifiable invasion of privacy" by a French magazine called Closer.
“It is unthinkable that anyone should take such photographs, let alone publish them,” said the office of the Prince of Wales in a statement.
“Officials acting on behalf of their Royal Highnesses are consulting with lawyers to consider what options may be available to the Duke and Duchess."
The photos in question were taken when the royal couple took a private holiday at the French chateau of Queen Elizabeth's nephew, Lord Linley.
Nicholas Witchell, a BBC correspondent, said that the anger among the royals over the pictures may be unprecedented.
"They are incredulous that any magazine would have felt they had a justification in publishing these pictures,” he said.
“They could go to law or seek a remedy through the French court -- that is a big step to take but that is clearly what is being considered now.”
Witchell added: "I have rarely heard quite such a level of publicly expressed anger that I have heard today reflecting William's feelings. He is absolutely determined to protect the privacy of his wife, he has always been very protective of her and that anger has mounted during the day."
Indeed, for William the matter is most troubling since he has long blamed the paparazzo’s aggressive harassment of his mother, Princess Diana, for her untimely death.
No British newspaper, not even the tabloids, have elected to print Kate’s pictures, although some were reportedly offered the opportunity last week.
Max Clifford, the well-known publicist, said he hopes the Royals indeed sue the magazine in question and anyone else who might be liable,
“If the publisher knows that publishing a picture of Harry, William or Kate in a private setting will cost them a lot of money then they won't do it,” he said, according to the Daily Telegraph.
“If they pursue the French magazine and the photographer and successfully sue them, and it costs a lot of money, it's going to put everybody else off and that is why I hope it will happen.”
However, the editor of Closer, Laurence Pieau, defended his decision to publish the photos and asserted the whole scandal is overblown.
“One shouldn't over-dramatize these pictures,” he said, according to BBC.
”The reactions are a little disproportionate. What we saw in the pictures was a young couple that have just got married, who are in love, who are beautiful. She's a princess of the 21st century. They are on the terrace of a mansion in the south of France which is not far from a road along which cars pass without any problem. They are visible from the street.”
Pieau also cited hypocrisy in the fury brewing over Kate’s naked photos.
"She's a young woman who is topless just like the ones who can be seen on all the beaches of France and the world,” he said.
“It's a member of the British Royal Family. There have been pictures before that. Two weeks ago, there were the pictures of Prince Harry that had been published by the English press. So one shouldn't be hypocritical. And those were pictures that were degrading and far hotter than those that we're publishing. She's a topless princess. There have been others. It's really not new."
Meanwhile, the controversy is likely to translate into a handsome profit for the French magazine, Closer.
“Closer… unashamedly [indulges] in the celebrity gossip,” wrote BBC France correspondent Christian Fraser.
“And they budget for the legal payouts which in this case are seemingly inevitable. But for editors the fine is worth the risk. And no doubt this latest edition of Closer will sell out, there will be a bigger print run, a legal tussle to follow - but the end result is a huge profit and priceless publicity.”
Indeed, copies of the magazine are flying off the shelves in French shops and kiosks.
A reporter for the Daily Telegraph, Victoria Ward, noted: “The magazine… was hard to find by lunchtime. The pictures are not pixilated as some have suggested and are incredibly intimate. There are 14 pictures spread over five pages.”
In the coming days, the scandal will likely accelerate, but it is unclear how far Kate and William can go with any potential legal action against French media sources.
Thomas Roussineau, a French privacy law expert, told the Press Association: "It [the photos' publication] is totally forbidden. The castle is not the street, it is in a private place, and they are intimate pictures."
He added: "They [Closer] will have a big revenue, and the amount of the sentence will not equal the revenue they will make, it will be a very small part of the revenue they will have from these pictures."