- Associated Press - Monday, September 17, 2012

A French court says it will decide on Tuesday whether to order an injunction halting further publication of topless photos of Prince William’s wife, Kate.

The royal request was made after Closer, a popular French gossip magazine, printed 14 pictures of the partially-clad Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, in its pages last week.

The decision came after an hour of arguments by lawyers for the royal couple and Mondadori, the Italian publishing house that owns the French magazine.

The British royals were seeking damage control. An Italian gossip magazine, Chi, also in the Mondadori stable — owned by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi — published a 26-page spread of photos of Kate without her swimsuit top and an Irish tabloid published more Kate topless photos over the weekend.

Chi hit newsstands on Monday, featuring a montage of photos taken while the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were on vacation at a relative’s home in the south of France last month. They included the 14 pictures published by Chi’s French sister magazine Closer.

But the Chi spread ran the whole sequence of photos as the couple sunbathed on a terrace, including one that didn’t appear in Closer, a shot of the princess putting sun cream on her backside.

The couple is hitting back hard. William’s St. James’ Palace said it would seek damages from Mondadori, calling the publication of the images a “grotesque” invasion of their privacy.

And St. James’ Palace said Sunday that family lawyers would file a criminal complaint against the unidentified photographer or photographers involved. The palace said it would be up to French prosecutors to decide whether to investigate and pursue a criminal case for breach of privacy or trespassing.

Chi editor Alfonso Signorini told the Associated Press over the weekend that he didn’t fear legal action since the photos were already in the public domain following Closer’s publication.

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