Italians to print 50 Kate photos: Even a call from the Queen won’t stop me boasts defiant editor
- Chi to follow French magazine and Irish Daily Star in printing naked images
- Front cover unveiled with headline: ‘Court Scandal: The Queen is Nude!’
- Comes as furious Prince William calls for those responsible to be jailed
- Lawyers to appear in Parisian court in bid to prevent further publications
- But Chi’s editor says ‘not even direct call from the Queen’ would stop him
- Pair says decision by Irish Daily Star to publish was ‘motivated by greed’
- Newspaper’s co-owner Richard Desmond vows to close down publication
- Royals seem relaxed as they arrive on Soloman Islands for next leg of tour
- Source says legal battle against publications could stretch on for two years
- Royal pair confirm they will make criminal complaint against photographer
A tawdry Italian magazine owned by Silvio Berlusconi was today set to publish 50 photos of the Duchess of Cambridge topless – defying Palace pleas for restraint.
Unapologetic editor Alfonso Signorini said ‘not even a direct call from the Queen’ would stop him printing the pictures in a special 26-page edition of Chi magazine under the headline ‘la Regina è nuda’ – the Queen naked.
Last night royal aides were desperately trying to establish if an 11th-hour injunction could be sought against publication of the photographs.
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High and dry: Italian magazine Chi (up) has announced it would publish a 26-page special of topless Kate Middleton using 50 images of the 200 in its possession as the Duke and Duchess (down, in Borneo) battle to prevent other media outlets around the world from using the naked pictures of her on holiday in France
William and Kate may have to endure further distress as it emerged that 200 pictures of the Duchess were taken as she sunbathed during a holiday in France.
Publications in the US, Germany and Australia were understood to be considering printing pictures.
Yesterday copies of French magazine Closer – which first used the pictures – were being sold on auction website eBay for £31, 25 times the retail price of £1.20.
Surprisingly relaxed: Prince William and wife Kate wave to the crowds on a truck decorated as a canoe as they depart Honiara International Airport on the Solomon Islands
In good spirits: The royal couple laugh as warriors perform a traditional dance at Honiara International Airport as they vowed to prosecute those responsible for taking and printing the naked pictures
All smiles: Kate and William embark on the next leg of their Diamond Jubilee tour on the Solomon Islands
Not impressed: A furious Prince William revealed he wants those responsible for taking and printing the pictures of his wife to be jailed
As the controversy escalated, the royal couple stoically continued their Diamond Jubilee tour yesterday, laughing as they met their hosts on the Solomon Islands.
Mr Signorini remained unapologetic over his plans to publish the photos.
Both Chi and the French edition of Closer are owned by Mondadori, part of former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi’s media empire.
Mondadori’s chairman is Mr Berlusconi’s 46-year-old daughter Marina.
Mr Signorini said he was not afraid of any legal action because the photos did not represent an invasion of privacy in his view.
‘These pictures are not offensive or in poor taste, they are not morbid and they do not damage the dignity of anyone,’ Mr Signorini said.
‘If I didn’t recognise the journalistic value of what I had and if I did not publish them I would be better off in a market selling artichokes.
‘These pictures were taken while the couple were on a terrace and they were taken from a public place so there is no suggestion of an invasion of privacy. Whoever was passing by could have taken them.
‘I did not consult with Berlusconi before I decided to publish these photographs because I take the ultimate decision on what appears in Chi magazine – and to be honest Berlusconi has a lot more to worry about than Kate Middleton.’
Six years ago Chi caused outrage when it published a picture of Princess Diana taken just minutes after the car crash in Paris which killed her and Dodi Al Fayed.
It was the first time any publication had printed a graphic picture from the August 1997 tragedy.
Meanwhile the joint publishers of the Irish Daily Star both denied they had sanctioned its decision to publish the topless pictures on Saturday.
The tabloid is jointly owned by Northern and Shell – which owns the Daily Express – and Independent News and Media.
Yesterday both issued statements denying prior knowledge of publication and expressing regret.
Former prime minister John Major backed Kate and William’s decision to take legal action over the pictures.
‘The boundaries have plainly been crossed,’ he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. ‘I don’t think we need minced words about these photographs – the way they have been obtained is tasteless. It’s the action of a peeping Tom. In our country we prosecute peeping Toms.’
‘THEY WILL FIGHT FOR YEARS IN COURT TO PURSUE THOSE RESPONSIBLE’
William and Kate are prepared to devote years to legal battles pursuing those responsible for the topless pictures – or those who publish them.
Sources close to the couple confirmed they were under no illusions about the length of time it could take for their fight to make its way through the Paris courts.
But they insist that the Duke and Duchess will press ahead because they feel so strongly about the invasion of their privacy.
This morning, the couple’s complaint against French Closer magazine – the first to publish the images – is to be heard at the Tribunal de Grande Instance in the Paris suburb of Nanterre.
They have instructed Paris barrister Aurelien Hammelle to call for ‘the stiffest punishment possible’ against the magazine.
St James’s Palace said there were plans to press for criminal charges against the photographer – who has so far remained unidentified.
The Duke and Duchess are also considering action against the Irish edition of the Daily Star, which printed the pictures on Saturday.
Legal battleground: Lawyers for Kate and William will appear at this court in Paris tomorrow to try to prevent further publication of topless photographs of the Duchess
Privacy row: The Tribunal de Grande Instance (above) in Nanterre, on the outskirts of Paris, will hear representations from the royals as they begin legal action against the publishers of French Closer magazine
legal action against the publishers of French Closer magazine
Triggering the storm: French magazine Closer (up) was the first to publish the naked pictures, a decision which was followed by the Irish Daily Star (down)