Recently, Prince William and Princess Catherine sued the French tabloid Closer for publishing grainy photos of the Duchess of Cambridge topless. The couple was on holiday at a private chateau in Provence when the paparazzi captured the photos using long-lens cameras in 2012. Now the court case has come to a close, and Closer has been ordered to pay nearly €200,000 (about $239,000) in total. Civil damages account for €100,000 (nearly $120,000), while the rest is what Closer faces in fines. In addition, the editor and the owner of the magazine were each sentenced to pay €45,000 (around $53,000), as well.
The court hearing at the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Nanterre came to an end when presiding judge Florence Lasserre-Jeannin decided in favor of Prince William and Princess Catherine. As mentioned, Closer itself was not the only party in trouble over the publication of the photos. The royal family also went after Ernesto Mauri, the owner of Closer, and Laurence Pieau, the tabloid's editor. Plus, the royals called out a regional newspaper and its editor for printing similar photos, and they also sued the three photographers who obtained the various photos on private property.
As the Telegraph tells it, Cyril Moreau and Dominique Jacovides, the two photographers who worked with Closer, were sentenced to pay €10,000. Then the regional publication La Provence had to pay €3,000 for printing pictures of Kate Middleton from a different angle. Furthermore, La Provence's former editor, Marc Auburtin, had to pay €1,500, while Valerie Suau, the photographer who obtained the photo, had to pay €1,000.
During the court case, Prince William made a statement about the incident. The fact that he did so carried weight because it meant his word would go on the permanent record. But during the testimony, Prince William pulled out the big guns and mentioned the paparazzi's obsession with his mom. He likened the whole ordeal to situations that occurred during the media circus that hounded Princess Diana during her life and then moved to him and his brother, Prince Harry, after her death.
The royal palace also brought Princess Diana up when the photos first came to light. Around that time, St. James Palace issued a statement condemning the photos, and called the publication of the pictures "reminiscent of the worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales."
While the ruling technically is a triumph for the royal family, the sum of damages is much less than the €1.5 million (almost $1.6 million) that the royal family initially requested. In fact, Paul-Albert Iweins, the attorney for Closer, said he felt "pleased" by the verdict. Iweins said he considered the ordeal "a simple private matter" and believed the sentence was, therefore, exaggerated (though it was but a fraction of what the royal family wanted).
The royal family has not commented. But from the sounds of it, the issue was the principle, not the money. It seems Prince William and Kate Middleton wanted to show up for themselves. Furthermore, the fact that Prince William is known for making grand donations of time and money suggests there is a significant chance they might donate whatever they receive from this case.
Still, the news is considered a victory, and it adds to the second bit of positive news for the royal family this week. First and foremost, Prince William and Princess Catherine revealed yesterday that they are expecting their third child. So, there is much cause for celebration at Kensington Palace.