The editor of French magazine Closer which has published topless pictures of Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, has described the images as "not in the least shocking"
Ms Laurence Pieau said: "These photos are not in the least shocking. They show a young woman sunbathing topless, like the millions of women you see on beaches,"
She said that La Provence, a local newspaper where the pictures were taken, had previously published a picture of the couple sunbathing on the same terrace of the chateau where the topless pictures were taken.
"It's still on the Internet. That shocked no-one," she said.
The publication of topless photographs was condemned as "grotesque and totally unjustifiable" by St James's Palace today.
In a strongly-worded statement, the palace compared it with the "worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales".
Lawyers were being consulted by royal aides after the images showing the future Queen wearing just a pair of bikini bottoms were published in the French magazine Closer.
William and Kate were said to be feeling "anger and disbelief" at the publication of the photographs, taken while on a private holiday.
Claire de Than, senior lecturer in law at the Centre for Law Justice and Journalism, City University London, said French law is stricter since privacy has constitutional protection, but some organisations would be willing to publish and pay a fine, which have been falling.
She said the French Civil Code states: "Everyone has the right to privacy," and said courts have generally been strict in enforcing that right.
Ms de Than said the pictures should only be published if they were in the public interest or consent was given, and there would be criminal liability for taking and transmitting photographs of private events without consent.
According to French law, she said the fact of the taking and publication of the photos could be reported, but not any information on private life, including the pictures.
"There is potential civil and criminal liability for invasions of privacy," she said. "French law is stricter since privacy has constitutional protection. The media have generally been more reluctant to publish private information, including photographs, than in the UK.
"However some organisations are willing to publish and pay the resulting fine, especially since fines have fallen in recent decades.
"Once the photographs have been published then the harm has been done and it is much more difficult to obtain an injunction, so when media are willing to break the law and face the consequences it simply does not matter how strong the legal protection is for citizens' rights."
Ms de Than said the publication of the pictures could also be found to be a violation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights - the right to respect for private life - as there was no overriding public interest in publishing them.
A source close to David Cameron said that Number 10 "echoes the sadness of the Palace" over the publication of the pictures.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said the Prime Minister had not seen the photographs and the Palace, rather than the Government, was dealing with the fallout from their publication.
The spokeswoman said: "The view from Downing Street is that they are entitled to their privacy."
Asked whether the PM would urge British newspapers and magazines to refrain from reprinting the photos, the spokeswoman said: "Clearly editors are there to make their own decisions, but you know that there is a process ongoing in this country which is looking at the media, and that is the Leveson Inquiry."
On the question of whether the photos strengthened the case for a privacy law, she added: "The Leveson Inquiry is looking at issues regarding the media in this country. Let's see what the conclusions of that inquiry are."
UK Closer mag 'would never use these pics'
The UK edition of Closer magazine moved to distance itself from the French publication which published the topless photos of the Duchess Of Cambridge - and said it would never use the shots.
The similarity of the covers of the two magazines has caused some people to wonder whether they are part of the same stable.
But the UK publisher issued a statement this morning to clarify that the French edition was printed under licence by another firm and both magazines made editorial decisions independently.
The statement said: "Closer magazine UK is published by Bauer Consumer Media. The French edition meanwhile is published under a licence by a totally different company, an Italian business called Mondadori.
"Closer magazine UK would like to make it clear that the two publications make entirely independent editorial decisions. In this respect the comments made by the editor of the French edition which have been reported in the media today do not reflect the opinions of Closer magazine UK.
"Closer magazine UK was not offered any pictures of this nature and certainly has no intention of publishing the photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge which have been published in France this morning.
"Closer magazine UK takes its obligations under the PCC Code extremely seriously and would never publish topless images of a member of the royal family on its cover or otherwise."