A lot has happened in the royal family since the Kate Middleton topless photo scandal. Since that drama went down, there have been weddings, babies, alleged cheating scandals, and hundreds of public appearances. It’s almost like everyone forgot the whole thing happened.
One person who probably didn’t forget? Queen Elizabeth, who hates royal scandals almost more than she hates sugar in her Earl Grey (and that’s a lot). Does she blame her granddaughter-in-law for what happened, or does she understand the whole thing was one huge invasion of privacy?
How did the Kate Middleton topless photo scandal happen?: In case you forget the story, here it is: Back in 2012 when Prince William and Kate Middleton were newlyweds with no kids, they decided to take a break from royal life and go on vacation together in the south of France.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge intentionally chose a secluded spot away from prying eyes. They headed to a private 640-acre chateau owned by Queen Elizabeth’s nephew, Viscount David Linley. Once there, things got loose and free quickly and Kate even decided to take off her top for sunbathing. Hey, they were newlyweds! Why not?
But there was just one problem—lurking in the bushes a half mile away, a French paparazzo was eagerly snapping photos of the nearly nude royal wife. Later, he sold them to the French tabloid Closer and suddenly, millions of people had access to images of the Duchess of Cambridge’s naked breasts.
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The backlash against the tabloid was swift and fierce: The British royal family doesn’t have time to address every single rumor that comes along—nor do they care to. But when someone commits a gross breach of privacy like this, they have no choice but to respond.
St. James’ Palace released a statement in the wake of the event, and they didn’t mince their words. It 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,” the statement said. “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.”
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Another statement from Prince William said: “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.”
How did the Queen react?
Like the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Queen Elizabeth was most likely appalled to have her family’s reputation tarnished in this way. But she wasn’t upset with Kate Middleton, who was behaving in a perfectly appropriate way in what she thought was a private residence. She was furious with the tabloids for taking advantage of an opportunity to invade their privacy.
Ultimately, the royal family sued the tabloid for 1.5 million euros. The final ruling awarded them 100,000 euros in damages plus another 90,000 euros in fines. It’s not that the royals need the money, but rather that the lawsuit sent a message to future photographers who think they can get away with this type of behavior.
And as for Kate Middleton? She’s moved past the scandal and continues to focus on caring for her family and building a royal presence. Still, she’ll probably think twice before topless sunbathing again.
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