Any chance that the printing of Kate Middleton's topless photos in Italy will cause a diplomatic crisis with England?
—Amy K., via Facebook
I can see where you're coming from. The Italian magazine in question, Chi, has published a 26-page spread featuring intimate photos of the Duchess of Cambridge, enraging British politicians and royals alike. And Chi also happens to be owned by Silvio Berlusconi, otherwise known as—yep—the former prime minister of Italy.
In other words: The former leader of a G-20 nation is essentially spitting in the face of a guy in line for the throne of another G-20 nation. Nice.
A French magazine, also owned by Berlusconi's Mondadori Group, has already pissed off British royals by publishing the shots, which were taken while Prince William and Kate Middleton were on a mini-vacation. Will and Kate are suing that mag, Closer, and pursuing a criminal complaint against the yet-to-be-named shutterbug who took the shots.
It's not clear whether the royals have sued Berlusconi personally, or plan to, though that sure would be fun to watch.
All that said, here's what you should know: When it comes to diplomacy, none of the above really matters. In fact, scholars tell me, diplomats likely aren't even talking about this "scandal" at all.
"This isn't exactly the same as Wikileaks or the revealing of state secrets," says former ambassador Carey Cavanaugh, now with the Patterson School of Diplomacy at the University of Kentucky. "Diplomatically, it wouldn't be the kind of thing that would come up between Her Majesty's government and Italy."
Philip Seib, director of the Center on Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California, thinks "the diplomats may huff and puff briefly, and then move on to other things. I'm sure there are people in the British government and the royal family who are not happy about the publication, but they have other things to do.
"It's one of these one-day-wonder stories," Seib concludes. "There is enough bad stuff going on in the world that this is almost comic relief."
Sure. As long as you're not Kate Middleton.