A French court has awarded €100,000 in damages to Britain’s Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, ruling that topless pictures of the Duchess taken and published in 2012 constituted an invasion of privacy.
Celebrity gossip magazine Closer was among the publications that ran the pictures and its owner and editor each received the maximum fine of €45,000.
The pictures were taken with a long-lens camera while the couple was on holiday at a private residence in the Luberon region of Provence. In all, six people were charged in relation to the publication of photographs that Buckingham Palace denounced as a “grotesque” invasion of the couple’s privacy.
Photographer Valerie Suau, who worked for the regional newspaper La Provence, admitted taking photos of the duchess in her swimming costume but had told the court she did not know that the royal couple were on private property at the time.
Prince William and Kate had originally pressed for criminal charges against the defendants and damages of €1.6 million.
The ruling comes one week after the 20th anniversary of the death of Prince William’s mother, who died when the car she was travelling in crashed while being chased by paparazzi.
“The incident is reminiscent of the worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, and all the more upsetting to The Duke and Duchess for being so,” a palace spokesperson said in 2012.