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Independent News and Media chief executive Joe Webb offered his “deepest apologies” and said the company would be “launching an internal inquiry to ensure there will never be a repeat of this breach of decency.” But Mr. Webb said in a statement that he hopes to preserve the Irish Daily Star and its 70 employees.

In Italy, the newspaper La Repubblica — a longtime foe of Mr. Berlusconi — criticized Chi’s decision to publish the photos, saying they were incompatible with his status as politician and statesman.

Mr. Berlusconi’s daughter Marina, who heads Mondadori, defended her father, saying he could not interfere with the publisher’s “editorial autonomy.”

La Repubblica said she had written to the newspaper asking rhetorically: “What should he have done? … Should he have forced himself to not publish that which the overwhelming majority of gossip papers, in every part of the globe, would have competed with each other to have?”

The storm over the photos erupted as William and Kate made an official tour of Singapore, Malaysia and the South Pacific. They arrived in the Solomon Islands on Sunday and will end their trip Tuesday in the island nation of Tuvalu.

Associated Press writer Frances D’Emilio in Rome contributed to this report.