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Britain's Royals Sue Magazine Over Topless Photos Of Kate Middleton

The Brits are in the middle of another scandal involving a semi-nude royal: After issuing a strong condemnation, the royal family said it would sue a French magazine for publishing photos of a topless Duchess of Cambridge.

The Duchess, if you're not a royal watcher, is Kate Middleton, Prince William's wife and ostensible the future queen of England.

Reuters explains that the celebrity gossip magazine Closer published 12 pictures of Kate while she was vacationing in the south of France. Thing is, that those pictures were taken when Kate "slipped off her bikini top, relaxed on a sun lounger and at one point pulled down the back of her bikini bottoms while William rubbed sun cream on her lower back."

Reuters adds:

"'St James's Palace confirms that legal proceedings for breach of privacy have been commenced today in France by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge against the publishers of Closer Magazine France,' the couple's office said in a statement.

"A court in Nanterre near Paris said the royal couple's lawyer had filed a motion to expedite the procedure, and Closer's publishers would be heard on Monday.

"Under the headline 'Oh my God!', the photos show the couple, whose regal yet natural conduct since their April wedding has won them fans worldwide, soaking up the sun on the balcony of a 19th century hunting lodge, oblivious to lurking paparazzi."

This scandal comes just weeks after the American website published pictures of Prince Harry in buff during a Las Vegas party.

ITV News spoke to the editor of the French magazine who downplayed the photographs.

"These pictures show nothing shocking," Laurence Pieau said. "They show a young woman sunbathing topless, as millions do on the beaches."

But the palace was not very happy. The AP reports that in a statement, the Royal Family called the publishing of the images a "grotesque" abuse of privacy. "It likened the case to the hounding of William's mother, the late Princess Diana, by paparazzi before her untimely death in 1997," the AP reports.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.