Kate Middleton Topless Pictures Banned in France

A French court has ordered the tabloid that ran photos of Kate Middleton sunbathing topless on the balcony of a French chateau to cease publishing the controversial images and hand over all digital copies.

In Tuesday’s ruling, the court said the photos published by Closer magazine represented a “brutal display” of intimate moments by Britain’s Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, who were on a private vacation in southern France when the photos were snapped. The tabloid published 14 photos of a partially clad Kate in its pages last Friday — setting off an online firestorm.

Closer is subject to a daily fine of $13,100 if it fails to hand over the photos. The mag’s parent publishers is also forbidden from further reproducing the snaps in any form, including online or through its smartphone/tablet app.

The court ruling noted that the “particularly intrusive” images “showed the intimacy of a couple, partially naked” on the terrace of a private home.

“(They) were thus subjected to this brutal display the moment the cover appeared.”

Of course, the court move may not come quickly enough for Prince William. He wants heads to roll and has called for a criminal probe into the photo scandal. A pending investigation will determine whether the photos violated France laws dealing with the right to privacy.