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Prince William, Kate 'hugely saddened' by publication of topless photos

Shamshahrin Shamsudin / EPA

Prince William, right, and wife Kate arrive at the As-Syakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Friday.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Britain's Duke and Duchess of Cambridge -- Prince William and Kate Middleton -- said Friday their privacy has been "invaded in a grotesque and totally unjustifiable manner" after topless pictures of Middleton were printed by a French magazine.

Blurry, long-lens shots of Kate, taken while she and William were on vacation in Provence, in the south of France last week, were printed in Closer magazine on Friday.

A statement from St. James's Palace, in London, said the pair were "hugely saddened" by the publication, adding that William and Kate "had every expectation of privacy in the remote house" where they were sunbathing at the time the pictures were taken.

The news comes as the couple makes an official tour of south-east Asia. Kate has been basking in the glow of rave reviews for her performing during her second overseas tour as a duchess -- and just 24 hours after her heralded first public speech on the international stage.

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William and Kate, who were in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia early Friday, were told at breakfast about the embarrassing photographs, according to ITV News' Royal Correspondent Tim Ewart.

"The pictures almost certainly won't be published in Britain, although The Sun did print photographs of Prince Harry naked in Las Vegas," he reported. "It hardly matters, though. They will be readily available on the internet."

The statement issued by St James’s Palace in London on Friday said:

Their Royal Highnesses have been hugely saddened to learn that a French publication and a photographer have invaded their privacy in such a grotesque and totally unjustifiable manner.

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.

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.

Officials acting on behalf of Their Royal Highnesses are consulting with lawyers to consider what options may be available to The Duke and Duchess.


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William, who was devastated by the death of his mother Princess Diana following a high-speed car chase by paparazzi in 1997, had hoped to shield his wife from the darker side of a live lived in public.

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For the couple, who were vacationing at the home of a friend, the end of their honeymoon with some quarters of the media is sure to spark wider anger, especially given her pitch-perfect performance on this high-profile tour.

"The Duke and Duchess remain focused currently on their tour of Singapore, Malaysia, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu," a palace spokesperson said.

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