Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton are seeking a large financial settlement from a French magazine that ran topless pics of her.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are seeking $1.6 million (or about 1.5 Euros … U.S. dollar FTW these days) from Closer magazine.
A trial began Tuesday in France for six people associated with Closer and with regional newspaper La Provence, according to reports.
The French Closer, which is unaffiliated with the UK’s Closer magazine, ran the pictures of Kate Middleton topless in September 2012.
The images, taken via telephoto lens, showed the Duchess sunbathing naked on holiday in the South of France in the couple’s private villa.
This was upsetting on merit, but also in that it dredged up memories of the royal family’s infamously rocky relationship with the media.
A decade and a half earlier, William’s mother, Princess Diana, was killed in a car accident as she tried to flee photographers in France.
A palace spokesman specifically said: “The incident is reminiscent of the worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana.”
Ernesto Mauri, chief executive of the group that publishes Closer, faces one charge of using a document obtained by a breach of privacy.
Marc Auburtin, La Provence’s publishing director at the time, faces the same; Laurence Pieau, editor of Closer, is charged with complicity.
Agency photographers Cyril Moreau and Dominique Jacovides and Valerie Suau face counts of both invasion of privacy and complicity.
Jacovides and Suau deny taking any of the Kate Middleton nude shots that were allegedly sold to Closer, but authorities dispute that.
Suau, who is accused of taking photos of her that ran in La Provence, told the court she did not intend to breach the royals’ privacy.
Paul-Albert Iweins, representing Closer, argued that the photos cast the couple “in a positive light” and did not constitute a breach of privacy.
In 2012, William said the decision to publish topless photos of Kate was “particularly shocking” given his mother’s battles with paparazzi.
The couple’s lawyer, Jean Veil, read a declaration in court Tuesday on William’s behalf, reiterating this point to plead the royals’ case:
“In September 2012, my wife and I thought 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.”
“The clandestine way in which these photographs were taken was particularly shocking to us as it breached our privacy.”
A French court fined Closer in 2012 for printing the images and banned it from the distributing the pictures in print or online.
A verdict is expected in the case July 4.