Kate Middleton, Prince William
Kate Middleton and Prince William attend the America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth, England, on July 24, 2016. Getty Images

Six people are set to face trial in France in 2017 over the topless photos of Kate Middleton published in 2012. The defendants include senior staff at French regional newspaper La Provence, Closer Magazine, and Closer's parent company - Silvio Berlusconi's Arnoldo Mondadori Editore publishing group.

Topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge were reportedly taken on the balcony of Chateau D'Autet during her holiday with Prince William in the South of France. At the time, Middleton and Prince William pressed for criminal charges to try to prevent wider publication of the pictures. However, the images were published while the royal couple were on their Diamond Jubilee tour to South East Asia and the South Pacific.

The pictures first appeared on the front page of La Provence in southern France on Sept. 7, 2012, before Closer published it a week later. The images also surfaced in Chi magazine – which is also owned by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Mondadori media group.

At the time, a spokesman for Clarence House said the couple "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," the statement said, adding: "Officials acting on behalf of their Royal Highnesses are consulting with lawyers to consider what options may be available to the duke and duchess."