People

Subscribe

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Royals

Everything You Need to Know About Princess Kate’s 2012 Topless Photo Scandal – and Who’s on Trial for the Images Now

Posted on

Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty
Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty

Five years after long-lens topless photos of Princess Kate were published in French media, the individuals allegedly involved are finally facing repercussions.

The trial in French court is currently underway against paparazzi and editors at both Closer magazine and newspaper La Provence, with Kate and Prince William‘s lawyer asking for damages up to $1.9 million, in addition to a “very significant fine,” according to The Telegraph.

In a prepared statement read in court this week, William said, “the clandestine way in which these photographs were taken was particularly shocking to us as it breached our privacy.”

Here’s everything you need to know about the trial.

When and where were the photos taken?

William and Kate – who wed in 2011 – were vacationing in Provence, France, in September 2012 when the images were taken. The couple was staying at the private chateau of Queen Elizabeth’s nephew, Viscount David Linley, according to BBC.

In his statement on Tuesday, the prince said, “My wife and I thought that we could go to France for a few days in a secluded villa owned by a member of my family, and thus enjoy our privacy.”

The topless images were published in Closer while the couple were on a goodwill tour of Asia that month. Newspaper La Provence also printed photos from the same Provence trip, though Kate was wearing a swimsuit in those telephoto images.

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

How did William and Kate react?

St. James’s Palace issued a statement at the time, calling the publication of the images “unjustifiable.”

“Their Royal Highnesses 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 spokesman said.

“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,” the statement continued. “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 spokesman also said that the royal family was considering legal action against both publications. The magazine was quickly fined by French authorities, according to CNN, and ordered to hand over the images to the royal family within 24 hours. Still, the photos were published in other European outlets.

Who is on trial?

In 2013, French authorities launched a formal investigation into the magazine’s publisher – Mondadori France – and the photographers behind the images, reported CNN.

Those currently on trial include Ernesto Mauri, chief executive of Mondadori France, and Marc Auburtin, the former publishing director of La Provence, the Press Association reported, according to CNN. Both men face charges of using a document obtained by a breach of privacy.

Laurence Pieau, the editor of Closer, is facing a charge of complicity, while two French agency photographers – Cyril Moreau and Dominique Jacovides – and La Provence photographer Valerie Suau, are charged with both invasion of privacy and complicity.

Moreau and Jacovides have denied taking the images, Reuters said, though mobile records allegedly show that both were in the area of the chateau during the time the photos are suspected to have been taken.

RELATED VIDEO: What Role Will Princess Charlotte & Prince George Have in Aunt Pippa Middleton’s Wedding?

According to the New York Times, French privacy laws are among the strictest in Europe. Everyone is entitled to the expectation of privacy, and any publication of what is deemed private personal details without permission is considered a criminal offense.

A final ruling in the case is expected on July 4.