Palace furious after Irish Daily Star publishes topless pictures of Kate
ST JAMES’S Palace reacted with fury yesterday after the Irish Daily Star published topless photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge and a gossip magazine promised to follow suit with a 26-page special edition tomorrow.
A spokesman for the duchess and her husband, Prince William, said the decision to publish intimate photographs of the couple on holiday could be motivated by nothing other “than greed”.
Yesterday, the royal couple put on a brave face while visiting a rainforest in Borneo, but closer to home their feelings were made known by their officials about further publication of the photographs taken at Chateau d’Autet, near Aix-en-Provence.
The Italian gossip magazine Chi has confirmed it intends to run the pictures tomorrow, featuring “intimate” pictures of the royal couple, following the Irish Daily Star’s decision.
The move was met with intense criticism from both the palace and the Northern & Shell newspaper group, which owns the Daily Express and Daily Star and joint-owns the Irish edition. Newspaper tycoon Richard Desmond, who is chairman of Northern & Shell, said last night that he had begun “immediate steps” to close down his joint venture with the Irish Daily Star, casting doubt over its future.
Desmond said: “The decision to publish these pictures has no justification and Northern & Shell condemns it in the strongest possible terms.”
Gareth Morgan, editor of the Daily Star Sunday and speaking on behalf of Northern & Shell, insisted that his company had been unaware of the intentions of the Irish edition until yesterday morning.
“It’s disgusting, we’re absolutely horrified here in the office,” he said. “This has no merit as an editorial decision and no merit morally.”
Morgan said he and Desmond only became aware of the publication when they were contacted by the US broadcaster CNN. He added: “I spoke to Richard this morning and he was as horrified as I was. He was, frankly, disgusted.”
Mike O’Kane, the editor of the Dublin-based Irish Daily Star, who also published pictures of Prince Harry partying naked in Las Vegas, said: “The duchess would be no different to any other celeb pics we would get in, for example Rihanna or Lady Gaga. She’s not the future Queen of Ireland, so really the only place this is causing fury seems to be in the UK – and they are very, very tasteful pictures.”
He said the UK had “given the world a free press” and suggested that the Leveson inquiry had gotten the British press into a “muddle”. He continued: “Leveson has failed to do what it should really have done. Elites are being protected by the press.”
The Press Council of Ireland was yesterday unavailable for comment on the decision to publish the photographs, but its ten-point code of practice includes a section on privacy. The guidelines state that “privacy is a human right, protected as a personal right in the Irish constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights, which is incorporated into Irish law. The private and family life, home and correspondence of everyone must be respected.”
It adds: “Taking photographs of individuals in private places without their consent is not acceptable, unless justified by the public interest.”
Despite St James’s Palace launching legal action against the French edition of Closer magazine – which published pictures of Kate topless on Friday – the Italian gossip magazine Chi, which is part of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s publishing house Mondadori, said it intends to run a 26-page special edition tomorrow.
St James’s Palace described the publication of the photographs of Kate in Closer on Friday as a “grotesque and totally unjustifiable” invasion of privacy and said the royal couple would sue its publishers. Despite this, Chi said it still intended to print the images. Editor Alfonso Signorini said: “The fact that these are the future rulers of England makes the article more interesting. This is a deserving topic because it shows in a completely natural way the daily life of a very famous, young and modern couple in love.”
The British edition of Closer has distanced itself from the decision made by its French counterpart, to which it shares a title but is which is run by a different company.
A number of British newspapers have been offered the photographs, but so far are unanimous in their condemnation of them being published.
Royal aides have drawn parallels between the late Princess of Wales’s most upsetting encounters with certain elements of the press and the “unthinkable” actions of Closer, which left Kate and William feeling “anger and disbelief”.
Yesterday, the couple’s day could not have been more removed from events in the UK,. They were flown by helicopter into the heart of the Malaysian state of Sabah, on the island of Borneo, to the field centre to explore its wildlife.
They were joined by Tengku Adlin, a Malaysian prince who travelled with the Duke of Edinburgh during his helicopter flight over the rainforest when he visited the region in 1972.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west