Topless Pic Scandal

Kate Middleton Toplesss Photographs: Two Charged

A female photographer and a publishing executive have been charged over the topless pictures of Kate Middleton taken in France last year and published around the world, it is being reported.

The France-based AFP news agency is reporting that a senior executive at the Mondadori Group - the publisher of glossy magazine Closer where the shots were first printed - and a photographer at regional daily La Provence have both been charged.

The photographer in question is Valerie Suau and the executive is Ernesto Mauri, the publisher of French Closer magazine.

The topless photos of Kate caused a furore when they were published last September, and sparked a criminal probe into how they were obtained, under France's strict privacy laws.

William issued a statement at the time which compared the invasion of his wife's privacy to the "worst excesses of the Princess Diana era," and decided to press criminal charges against the advice of some advisers.

That charges have now been brought reprsents a major victory for him.

Miss Suau has admitted taking shots of the Duchess sunbathing but has denied taking photographs of her semi-naked or topless. The photographs were taken from a public road with a clear view of the pool where Kate and William were sunbathing.

The photographs were taken during the couple’s break at a chateau owned by Lord Linley, the Queen’s nephew, in Luberon before their diamond jubilee tour.

The pictures were flagged up on the front cover of the magazine with the headline: 'Oh My God! World Exclusive,' and were not published in the U.K.Courtiers issued their most strongly-worded statement in years after the event, which was drawn up with William and Kate's input and veto, saying: "Their Royal Highnesses have been hugely saddened to learn that a French publication and a photographer have invaded their privacy in such a grotesque and totally unjustifiable manner."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."

The Duke and Duchess, who were in the middle of an official tour of the Far East when the pictures were published, won an injunction in the French courts to prevent the publication of more photos, but they were sold on by the photographer and appeared in several other magazines around the world.

Since then, the couple have been pictured on a beach in Mustique.