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Kate Middleton and Prince William File Criminal Complaint in France Over Topless Photo Scandal

Kate Middleton, Prince William WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images

Prince William and Kate Middleton are making good on their legal threats.

Three days after launching an injunction in their civil case against French tabloid Closer for allegedly violating their privacy by publishing topless photos of a sunbathing Duchess of Cambridge, the royal couple have now filed a criminal complaint in a French court seeking justice against those responsible for disseminating the pics.

Kate Middleton topless photo scandal: royals file lawsuit against tabloid

Per the UK's Independent newspaper, that includes asking prosecutors to bring charges against an unnamed paparazzo who took the shots. Which could be tricky: There was no name listed in the royals' criminal complaint, as it's unclear who was responsible for taking the shots.

So far, a freelance photographer named Valerie Suau has confessed to snapping pictures of the pair on holiday at a private chateau in Provence—albeit she claims that she didn't snap anything "explicit," including the images released last week.

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Under French law, those convicted of violating Will and Kate's privacy—and speculation is now settling on the unnamed paparazzo and Closer's editor—could face thousands of euros in fines and a possible one-year jail sentence. As it happened, Closer removed the photos from its website on late Friday shortly after being sued.

As part of their initial legal salvo Friday, the future king and queen sought an injunction against Closer looking to have the issue pulled immediately from shelves in France. But that's not their only headache.

Closer's Italian sister publication, Chi, also published a 26-page spread today of the topless images, no doubt incurring further wrath from the royals, but so far there's no word on whether their lawyers plan to take similar legal action in Italy.

Topless Kate Middleton photos removed from Closer website

A statement released by Mondadori, the publishing group that owns Chi and Closer, defended the decisions made by the respective editors to run a report on the pics.

"The editors of the two magazines decided to publish the pictures because their content is clearly newsworthy, without in any way being damaging to the subjects," Mondadori argued. "The publisher respects the arguments put forward by the editors of the two weeklies."

Alfonso Signorini, the editor in chief of Chi, elaborated on why he went ahead with it.

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"This is a feature that deserves a special edition given that it shows, in a wholly natural way, the daily life of a very famous young, modern and loving couple," Signorini explained. "That they happen to also be the future sovereigns of Great Britain certainly makes it more interesting, newsworthy and in line with a modern conception of monarchy."

The editor added: "In brief, it is a wonderful and common image of a couple that is anything but common."

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We doubt Will and Kate would agree with that justification. Despite the brouhaha, the couple are forging ahead with a tour of the Solomon Islands.

In addition to Closer and Chi, the Irish Daily Star newspaper also decided to publish the images, drawing sharp condemnation from its joint owners, Britain's Northern and Shell and Independent News and Media, which is considering shuttering the publication.

—Reporting by Marcus Mulick

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