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Kate’s topless photos – the start of something new

- September 14th, 2012
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In Nice, France, on Friday, a man holds a copy of the French magazine Closer showing pictures of a topless Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince William. Closer, a weekly round-up of celebrity gossip, ran a five-page spread of photos of Kate sunbathing topless on a balcony at a 19th century hunting lodge in the south of France on Friday, dealing a fresh blow to the Royal family as it tries to move on from a scandal over naked shots of Prince Harry. The royals are suing over the shots, saying they’re a breech of privacy. (Photo: Eric Gaillard/REUTERS)

Topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge have been published in a French magazine and the royals are not happy.

In fact, they’re suing – a rare move by the royals.

And I’m guessing it’s because we’re seeing the same obsession with Kate that we did with Diana – and that (we all know) did not end well.

The photos clearly show Kate and Prince William on a private vacation in France and her breasts are on display (for anyone with a telephoto lens who may or may not have been hiding out waiting to get the shot).

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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is fully clothed Friday during a tour in Kuala Lumpur. She and Prince William are on a tour of Southeast Asia to mark the Diamond Jubilee. (Photo: Samsul Said/REUTERS)

Closer’s editor-in-chief Laurence Pieau described the five-page spread of photos as a “beautiful series” that shows a young couple in love.

“These photos are not in the least shocking,” Pieau said (although it should be noted the cover of the magazine ran a giant headline with the photos yelling Oh my God!).

“It’s a young woman who is topless, the same as you can see on any beach in France or around the world,” Pieau said.

That may be – but Kate wasn’t frolicking on a beach topless. She was on a balcony and, I’m sure, thought she had some privacy.

Pieau also said the couple were “visible from the street.”

Somehow, I doubt that.

I’ve seen discussions online questioning how Kate’s photos are different than Harry’s photos. Why sue now?

Simple – because it’s Kate.

Harry is known to be a bit of a wild child and, frankly, when he didn’t stop people from bringing cellphones into his Las Vegas suite, he put himself at risk. (Do I think he deserved to have his wild night splashed across TMZ, blogs, websites and newspapers? I do not – the person who sold those shots is a giant jerk, in my opinion).

But the royals have always been uber protective of Kate – even giving her a guard before she and William were even engaged, due to harassment by the media. The royals asked the media to back off, leave her alone. And to a degree, they did. The British media kept their distance for the most part. They’d snap shots of the couple stumbling out of clubs or skiing on vacation, but the paparazzi even backed off until the engagement was announced.

But I think the media is starting to push back – especially since it became quite clear the newest royal couple seemed eager to control the media (not telling the world the name of their puppy? Really?).

British media will no doubt continue to be cautious (the Mirror newspaper published an article Friday with the tweet: Forget Kate topless, here are 50 of our favourite pictures of her with her clothes on – and the headline reads, “Take that Closer!”), but other outlets around the world are itching for scoops and digs about the young royals – and let’s face it, this edition of Closer will likely sellout in record time.

Are the photos particularly shocking? Not really. As the editor said, topless sunbathing is not an unusual thing in France (or in backyards around the world).

What is shocking is the fact that someone has published them given all controversy surrounding photos of Kate and Wills while on private vacations in the past (there was outrage when some shots taken during a trip earlier this year with her parents made their way onto celebrity gossip sites).

And it will be interesting to see where this goes now. Will this spark more media outlets publishing paparazzi shots of the couple? Or will we see a backlash from royal fans who don’t want to see Kate treated like Diana was (although Diana famously tried to control the media as well) and will there be an outcry over her treatment by gossip mags?

I have no doubt the coverage of Will and Kate will continue in non-monarchist countries. In the U.S. and France, they’re simply celebrities (and many gossip websites and magazines love to dish the dirt on celebrities when they can – it sells!). In England and, to some degree Canada, we won’t see it as much, I don’t think.

But no doubt someone will change. There will be a new way the royals are covered by media outlets – it’s just a question of how things will go from here. If there’s no outrage from customers of magazines and websites, then we may see much, much more dirt about Will and Kate in the coming months. The tabloids have to be getting tired of making up false pregnancy rumours …