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Paparazzi Ordered To Pay $225k To Royal Family In Topless Photo Case

(Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

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Anders Hagstrom Justice Reporter
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A French court ordered news executives and photographers to pay more than $225,000 Tuesday in damages for publishing topless photos of Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate while they were on vacation in France in 2012.

The court ruled that the pictures were an invasion of privacy, and ordered that three news executives and three photographers pay nearly $120,000 to the royal couple in addition to a $100,000 fine, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

The original incident occurred in 2012 when paparazzi snapped photos of the couple at a private chateau in France. The photographers then sold the pictures to a local paper and Closer magazine, which published them. The damage payments are far below the duke and duchess’s original demand of $1.8 million.

Prince William likened incident in 2012 to the paparazzi action that “led to the death” of his mother, Princess Diana. Diana, her boyfriend, and their driver had been speeding away from paparazzi on the night of their fatal car crash in 1997.

“My wife and I thought that we could go to France for a few days in a secluded villa owned by a member of my family, and thus enjoy our privacy,” William said in a statement. “We know France and the French and we know that they are, in principle, respectful of private life, including that of their guests. The clandestine way in which these photographs were taken was particularly shocking to us as it breached our privacy.”

The executives and photographers argued the photos weren’t an invasion of privacy because the royal family doesn’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy, the Guardian reported.

“The public and private lives of the royal couple are so closely linked as to be inseparable,” said Closer’s lawyer, Paul-Albert Iweins. “It’s of public interest to know that future heirs to the throne have a solid relationship and are getting on well. It’s all part of the royal business.”

The offices of the duke and duchess said the couple is happy with the court ruling, despite receiving only limited damages.

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