Justice is served. Seven months after French magazine Closer published topless pictures of Kate Middleton sunbathing on vacation with husband Prince William, the photographer believed to be behind the revealing snaps has been placed under formal criminal investigation, sources tell Us Weekly.
Insiders in Paris say the paparazzo in question is Valerie Suau, who is said to have used a long lens to shoot the intimate images from a public road about a half-mile from where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were staying at Chateau d' Autet in Provence. She reportedly faces a criminal trial, as does the publisher of Closer, which first faced legal action for the photos last fall, when Middleton's lawyer, Aurelien Hamelle, argued that the pictures were a "grotesque breach of privacy."
Sources tell Us that Suau is believed to have been arrested by police earlier this month. She has denied taking any "indecent" images, but no other photographer has been identified or placed in the area at the time of what Hamelle called the "highly intimate moment."
"[Duchess Catherine] is a young woman, not an object," Hamelle argued during a September hearing about the case. (At the time, Hamelle was seeking an injunction to have all copies of the magazine removed from stores, and to prevent further distribution of the photos by any means.) Making matters worse, he added, was the fact that the photos were taken "just six days after the 15th anniversary of the useless, cynical, and morbid hunt which led to the death of William's mother, [Princess Diana]."
Speaking on behalf of Closer magazine in September, editor Laurence Pieau told Agence France-Press that the public outrage was "disproportionate" and that she had no regrets about the decision to publish the pictures. "These photos are not in the least shocking," she said. "They show a young woman sunbathing topless, like the millions of women you see on beaches."
"It is a young couple that has just been married," she continued. "They are in love. They are beautiful. She is the princess of the 21st century."
The Duke and Duchess — expecting their first child together in July — initially launched criminal proceedings against the then-unnamed photographer under France's strict privacy laws last fall. French media are protected from having to name their sources, but an insider confirms that "a female photographer" working for regional newspaper La Provence, as well as "the publisher of Closer," have both been placed under formal criminal investigation.
A rep for St. James's Palace tells Us "the oongoing legal process is a matter for the French authorities."
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