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Whoops! Eamonn Holmes says sorry after beach snaps of pregnant duchess are screened on TV

By Chris Kilptarick

Eamonn Holmes has been forced to apologise to the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William after pictures of pregnant bikini-clad Kate Middleton were shown to millions of television viewers.

The Belfast-born presenter was left red-faced after the images flashed across the screen during yesterday's This Morning.

The gaffe happened during a discussion on the controversy surrounding the publication by some foreign magazines of the pictures of Kate on holiday.

The front cover of one – Italian gossip magazine Chi – was beamed across the screen, clearly showing a number of the images.

The photographs – described as "violating" by the Palace – were taken as Kate strolled along a beach on the Caribbean island of Mustique with Prince William.

Chi and Australian magazine Woman's Day published them but the British media declined to, saying they were respecting the couple's privacy.

Mr Holmes and his co-host and wife Ruth Langsford were discussing the controversy surrounding the pictures during a section of yesterday's ITV programme in which they were reviewing the news stories of the day.

During the segment the front cover of Chi (above) was clearly shown, without the pictures being blacked out. Later in the show he apologised for the "deeply regrettable" error.

He told viewers: "Just referring back to the start of the programme today, during the news review we were discussing photographs of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on a beach in Mustique.

"Those were published in an Italian magazine.

"Unfortunately, we accidentally showed an unblurred image of the magazine cover which briefly showed the photographs. This was a regrettable error and the programme apologises unreservedly to the Duke and the Duchess."

An ITV spokeswoman also apologised for yesterday's incident.

Three months ago Phillip Schofield and ITV agreed to pay Tory peer Lord McAlpine £125,000 in damages after the television presenter handed a list to Prime Minister David Cameron wrongly claiming it contained the names of alleged paedophiles.

Viewers were able to see the list which contained his name.

Factfile

In 2011 Eamonn Holmes apologised for calling a guest on This Morning a retard. Viewers complained about the retort to actor Jonathan Wilkes. Later Mr Holmes said: "I have to say sorry to three or four of you who are upset because I used the word 'retarded'. You seem to think I am being insulting. I would never want to do that. There is this man who has an autistic child and said I insulted his child." In the same year, he provoked criticism by suggesting that a rape victim should take taxis in future, leading to accusations of victim blaming.

Reaction to photos is wholly over the top: editor

The editor of the Italian magazine which published pictures of a bikini-clad Duchess of Cambridge has defended his decision.

Alfonso Signorini said the reaction to the photographs which show William and Kate (right) on holiday on the Caribbean island of Mustique was "over the top".

The pictures were published in the gossip magazine Chi and were trailed on the front cover as showing the growing belly of Kate who is around four months pregnant.

Mr Signorini justified his decision to publish the pictures of Kate and William on holiday in a series of interviews.

He told the BBC: "The photographs, which can in no way be considered scandalous, were bought from an international photo agency, do not harm the image of the protagonists and the reaction of the media seems to me wholly over the top.

"Moreover, the photographs can hardly be considered an invasion of privacy when the subjects are public figures in a public place, in the open air; specifically on a beach surrounded by bathers."

The editor told Italian news website Corriere.it: "You can't compare it with the media persecution of Lady D (Diana, Princess of Wales). I repeat: the photos were taken in a public place."

The pictures have been condemned by St James's Palace, who said: "We are disappointed that photographs of the Duke and Duchess on a private holiday look likely to be published overseas. This is a clear breach of the couple's right to privacy."

Meanwhile, the editor of an Australian magazine also defended her decision to print photos of Kate in a bikini, saying her readers will "love" the images.

Woman's Day is the second publication to use the pictures of the pregnant royal and it also controversially published pictures of William and Kate's Seychelles honeymoon in 2011.

The Mustique pictures were reportedly taken from a boat using a long-lens camera, but Fiona Connolly, editor of Woman's Day, claimed a member of the public snapped the duchess.

Speaking to Australia's Channel Nine network ahead of publishing the pictures in Monday's edition of the magazine, Ms Connolly said: "This is not a hard decision about these photos. Kate's on a public beach, there are other holiday-makers there and she looks fabulous."

She made a distinction between the new pictures and those taken of Kate topless on holiday in France last year as the latest ones were not taken in a private place.

A St James's Palace spokesman would not comment on whether William had been informed, or if they were considering legal action.

Chi has published controversial pictures of royalty before, producing a 26-page spread showing Kate topless last year.

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