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September 5, 2017

William and Kate awarded £95k privacy damages by Paris court over topless mag pics

By PA Media Lawyer

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been awarded €103,000 (£95,000) in privacy damages by a court in Paris following the trial of six people over topless photographs of Kate which were published in September 2012.

France’s Closer Magazine was ordered to pay €100,000 (£91,700) at a Paris court over the long-lens images of Kate sunbathing on a terrace, after it was ruled they had breached her privacy.

The photos, taken as Kate holidayed with William at a private chateau in Provence, southern France, adorned the front and inside pages of the publication in September 2012.

Presiding judge Florence Lasserre-Jeannin also instructed regional newspaper La Provence, which printed images of the Duchess in her swimwear, to pay €3,000 in damages during the hearing at the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Nanterre.

Tuesday’s judgment follows the trial of six people – including three photographers – linked to Closer Magazine and La Provence, which began in May.

The judge convicted all six defendants of charges relating to the taking and publication of the images.

Ernesto Mauri, 70, chief executive of publishing group Mondadori, which produces Closer, received a maximum fine of €45,000 for using a document obtained by breach of privacy.

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Laurence Pieau, 51, editor of Closer magazine in France, was also fined €45,000 after being found to be complicit with the publication.

At a previous hearing Paul-Albert Iweins, representing Closer magazine, said the duke and duchess were hoping to claim €1.5 million (£1.3 million) in compensation.

During the trial, the court was told that William found the decision to publish the topless photographs “particularly shocking” and “all the more painful” given his late mother’s battles with the paparazzi.

In a written statement read by the couple’s lawyer, Jean Veil, the Duke said: “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 publication of the images prompted a fierce reaction at the time, with a statement issued by St James’s Palace stating they were “reminiscent of the worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales”.

William and Kate launched their own legal proceedings in 2012 and a court in Paris banned Closer, which is separate from the UK’s Closer magazine, from printing any further images.

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