The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today won their fight to block a French magazine from republishing or selling topless photos of the royal couple in France or abroad.
The civil court at the Tribunal de Grand Instance in Nanterre, a suburb of Paris, also ordered Closer magazine to hand over all files of the pictures to representatives of the royal couple within 24 hours.
Mondatori Magazines France, the glossy’s publisher, faced a 10,000-euro fine for every day’s delay and was ordered to pay 2,000 euros in damages., the written injunction stated.
The ruling prevents Closer, which published the pictures on Friday, from reusing them in print or on its website, as well as from selling them to markets where they have not been published. The penalty for sale of the photos was set at 100,000 euros.
Publishing of the photos, taken while the royals were on holiday in Provence on September 5, was also banned “on digital tablets”.
The pictures are already widely available on the Internet and have been printed in Ireland’s Daily Star newspaper and Italy’s Chi magazine.
The ruling cited article 9 of the civil code that states that “any person, whatever his fame, his present or future functions, has the right to the respect of his private life and image.”
The photos were taken from a public road several hundred metres from the private residence where the couple were staying. The court agreed that the couple “could legitimately suppose (the residence) was sheltered from prying eyes” and that the violation of their privacy was “particularly intrusive”.
It described the magazine’s use of the photos as a “brutal exhibition” of their intimacy.
However, the court ruled that it was “beyond its powers” to “ban the republication of the litigious magazine”.
“We can cease or block a breach of privacy underway but not one that might hypothetically happen, especially as Closer promised in court not to republish the offending magazine,” said a judicial source. However, if Closer were to print more issues of the magazine, the royal couple would be within in their rights to demand its withdrawal “within 24 hours”.
The royal couples lawyers had not asked for copies of the magazine already in newsagents to be removed from shelves as “the damage has already been done”.
Maude Sobel, who represent the royal couple’s lawyers, said: “It is a fine ruling.”
Earlier today, a French prosecutor opened a preliminary criminal investigation into the publication of topless pictures. This could then lead to a full investigation into whether taking and publishing the pictures breached the couple’s right to privacy under French law.
The prosecutor will also have to decide who any criminal proceedings are directed against.
The royals’ complaint cites “persons unknown” but it is understood they want proceedings brought against both the editor of Closer magazine, which published the photos on Friday, and whoever took the images of the couple sunbathing at a chateau in Provence earlier this month.