LONDON (AP) — A French magazine on Friday published what appeared to be photos of Prince William's wife Kate sunbathing topless at a private house in southern France, prompting a strong condemnation from the royal family.
Officials said the royal family was considering legal action for a "grotesque and totally unjustifiable" invasion of privacy in the same country where William's mother Princess Diana died while fleeing paparazzi.
The couple was "saddened" by the use of the photos, which appear genuine, royal officials said.
The revealing pictures of Kate in Closer, a popular gossip magazine, were blurry and shot from a distance. The publication claimed they were taken on a guesthouse terrace in France where the couple vacationed earlier this month.
The first major press incident involving William and Kate brought back memories of Diana being hounded by paparazzi in France in the hours and days before her fatal car crash there in 1997.
Royal officials, who demanded anonymity in line with palace policy, condemned the decision to publish the images.
"Their Royal Highnesses had every expectation of privacy in the remote house. It is unthinkable that anyone should take such photographs, let alone publish them," a St. James's Palace official in London said. "The incident is reminiscent of the worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, and all the more upsetting to the Duke and Duchess for being so."
The palace official said representatives of the couple were consulting with lawyers.
"We feel a line has been crossed with their publication," the official added.
William and Kate, now formally known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, were touring the Far East and South Pacific to mark Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee when the photos were published.