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Kate Middleton topless trial: What privacy for public figures?

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Kate Middleton topless trial
Kate Middleton topless trial. As photos first appeared in Italy's Chi tabloid magazine in 2012.
Kate Middleton topless trial
Kate Middleton topless trial. As photos first appeared in Italy’s Chi tabloid magazine in 2012.

Kate Middleton topless trial: To what degree should photographers and media respect the private status of public figures? Day one of trial begins in France.

To what degree should a public figure expect their privacy to be respected and at what point can one argue that the paparazzi (who take incessant pictures of said public figures) and the media outlets (who publish them) can be said to have crossed the line?

These are questions that Prince Charles and Kate Middleton have demanded of French jurors with the commencement of day one of trial regarding topless Kate Middleton photos that first circulated in 2012.

In their lawsuit, the UK’s Royal family according to the UK’s telegraph has asked for damages of £1.3m (€1.5m) from French magazine, ‘Closer’ over topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge which appeared in their publication. 

Cyril Moreau and Dominique Jacovides, two Paris-based agency photographers suspected of taking the pictures, must answer charges of invasion of privacy and complicity at the trial in Nanterre, outside Paris.

Also facing charges is Laurence Pieau, Closer‘s editor in France, Ernesto Mauri, chief executive of the Mondadori group which owns the magazine that decided against royal objections to publish said images anyway. 

Also named in the suit is Marc Auburtin, former publisher of the La Provence newspaper, which also published the photos, and photographer Valerie Suau, are also among the six people named in the complaint.

The royal couple who filed the court complaint, did not attend the trial on Tuesday.

Kate Middleton topless trial
Kate Middleton topless trial. While French authorities put a stop to further images appearing in France, other nations in Europe continued to publish said Images.

The suit follows images that were taken with a long-lens camera during which time William and Kate had taken a holiday in Provence at a chateau owned by the Queen’s nephew, Viscount David Linley.

Read a statement by the royal’s lawyers as written by William:

‘In September 2012, 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.

‘We know France and the French and we know that they are, in principle, respectful of private life, including that of their guests.

‘The clandestine way in which these photographs were taken was particularly shocking to us as it breached our privacy.’ 

The Duke of Cambridge went on to state that the images were ‘all the more painful’ given the harassment linked to the death of his mother.

Kate Middleton topless trial
Kate Middleton topless trial

Responding to the suit, Closer magazine’s lawyer Paul-Albert Iweins said the photos – which were published across Europe and here with our outlet here in the United States but not in the UK – showed a ‘positive image of the couple’.

Which begs the question, whose business is it to procure said image and what if said images are attained with the use of long lens cameras from far distances? Can publishers still legitimately argue that said public figures had courted publicity?

Then again to what degree can a public figure claim innocence and intrusion if their entire being and ongoing opportunities are the direct result of the ongoing attention they receive? Should they be allowed to control the attention they receive or should us media folks agree that behind closed doors even a Prince and Princess has a right to retain their private person status?

A verdict is expected at a later date.

Kate Middleton topless trial
Kate Middleton topless trial
Kate Middleton topless trial
Kate Middleton topless trial