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William: Paparazzi topless shots of Kate brought Diana to mind

French newspaper and magazine printed the sunbathing shots four years ago.

The Duke of Cambridge has branded the decision to publish topless photographs of his wife “particularly shocking” given his late mother’s battles with the paparazzi.

William expressed his sadness at the incident more than four years ago in a written statement read to a court in Nanterre, west Paris, where six people are on trial in connection with the alleged breach of privacy.

The long-lens images of Kate, taken as they holidayed in the south of France, adorned the front and inside pages of France’s Closer magazine in September 2012 alongside an article about the loved-up pair entitled “Oh my God!”.

William and Kate were on the terrace of a private chateau in Provence owned by Viscount Linley, the Queen’s nephew, when they were photographed.

In a written declaration read in French in court by the couple’s lawyer Jean Veil, William said: “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.”

France’s Closer magazine and regional newspaper La Provence were placed under investigation after the images of Kate sunbathing while on a private holiday in Provence with the Duke of Cambridge were printed in September 2012.

The photos prompted a fierce reaction, 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”.

The trial of six people – including three photographers – linked to Closer magazine and regional newspaper La Provence began on Tuesday, years after the scandal first erupted.

Ernesto Mauri, 70, chief executive of publishing group Mondadori which produces Closer, faces one charge of using a document obtained by a breach of privacy, as does Marc Auburtin, 56, who was La Provence’s publishing director at the time.

Laurence Piau, 50, editor of Closer magazine in France, is charged with complicity.

Agency photographers Cyril Moreau and Dominique Jacovides and Valerie Suau, who was a photographer for La Provence, stood in the dock together as they faced charges of invasion of privacy and complicity.

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