Irish tabloid breaks ranks to publish topless Kate photos

Sat Sep 15, 2012 5:23pm EDT
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By Conor Humphries and Tim Castle

DUBLIN/LONDON (Reuters) - An Irish tabloid newspaper broke ranks with its British and Irish rivals to publish topless pictures of the wife of Prince William on Saturday, risking legal action from the royal family and prompting its British co-owner to cut ties with the title.

The royal couple have already begun action against the French magazine Closer for publishing a dozen shots of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge - the former Kate Middleton - 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.

All British papers have refrained from publishing the photographs, including the Sun, the only British title to run pictures of William's brother Harry cavorting naked in a Las Vegas hotel last month.

The Irish Daily Star paper published a two-page spread of 10 photographs of the duchess from Closer magazine under the headline "Angry Kate to sue mag over snaps".

A teaser headline on the front page of Ireland's best-selling tabloid promised "the magazine shots everyone wants to see".

A spokeswoman for Prince William condemned the publication, saying: "There can be no motivation for this action other than greed."

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

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge walks at the Kranji Commonwealth War Cemetery, to pay her respects to the war dead, in Singapore September 13, 2012. REUTERS/Nicolas Asfouri/Pool