Irish tabloid publishes Kate Middleton topless photos

Pictures of topless Kate Middleton published in Ireland, Italy’s Chi magazine to follow suit.

French magazine Closer was the first to publish the photos.
French magazine Closer was the first to publish the photos.

In what is being considered as "breaking ranks with British and Irish rivals", an Irish tabloid newspaper published the topless pictures of Kate Middleton, risking legal action from the royal family and prompting its British co-owners to cut ties with the title.

The topless photos of Prince William's wife were first published by French magazine Closer, owned by the former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi.

The royal couple have already begun action against the French magazine taken as she slipped off her bikini top while sunbathing at a secluded French country house.

The pictures have reignited a debate over privacy and freedom of the press, especially in Britain, where media could face new regulations after a series of publishing scandals.

Reacting to the Irish Daily Star decision to publish the photos, a spokesperson for Prince William condemned the publication.

"There can be no motivation for this action other than greed," the spokesperson said.

Northern and Shell, the Irish paper's British co-owner, said it was dismayed by the publication of the photographs.

Chairman Richard Desmond said he was taking "immediate steps to close down the joint venture" with Independent News and Media (INM), Ireland's biggest media company.

"I am very angry at the decision to publish these photographs ... The decision to publish these pictures has no justification whatever and Northern and Shell condemns it in the strongest possible terms," added Desmond, whose company also publishes the Daily Express and Daily Star in Britain.

But despite the legal action the Royal Family is set to take over the publication of the intimate photos, Italian magazine Chi has already announced it will be following suit.

"I don't see anything morbid or damaging in them," editor Alfonso Signorni told TMZ. "Chi pays attention to people's dignity. I don't think they hurt Kate's image."

Signorni added that the pictures were part of public domain now.

"The fact that these are the future rulers of England makes the article more interesting and topical," Signorini told reporter before adding, "This is a deserving topic because it shows in a completely natural way the daily life of a very famous, young and modern couple in love."

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Well she was with her husband. The pictures are just an invasion of privacy. On a more important note - i was a bit disappointed with Kate's assets.