Two charged over intimate Kate sunbathing shots

The head of an Italian publishing group and a French photographer were charged this month over the publication of intimate photos of Prince William's wife Catherine sunbathing topless in France that sparked a furore.

The photos were printed in two publications in September, one of which displayed shots of the former Kate Middleton half-naked having suncream rubbed into her buttocks by William at a private chateau in the south of France.

The grainy snaps triggered an immediate furore in Britain, and the angry royal couple launched legal proceedings in France.

According to sources close to the case, the head of the Mondadori Group -- which publishes glossy French magazine Closer -- and a photographer at daily La Provence were both charged with "invasion of privacy" earlier this month.

Judges in the Paris suburb of Nanterre charged Ernesto Mauri, chief executive of Mondadori, for having allowed the topless shots to be published in Closer on September 14. The identity of the paparazzi who took the photos remains a mystery.

Photographer Valerie Suau, meanwhile, was charged for taking photos of the Duchess of Cambridge in a swimsuit in the same place, which were printed in La Provence a week earlier on September 7.

The royal couple's lawyer Aurelien Hamelle, Mondadori and La Provence all refused to comment when contacted by AFP.

The pictures were taken when the royals were vacationing in southern France at a chateau owned by Viscount Linley, the son of Princess Margaret, the deceased sister of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II.

The royal couple launched legal proceedings soon after they were published, with their lawyer arguing that the images were particularly distressing in light of William's mother Princess Diana's 1997 death in a car crash while being pursued by paparazzi.

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