Kate Middleton topless picture row: Trial to open in France

The private pictures showed the Duke of Cambridge rubbing suncream on Kate's body.

In 2012, royal heir Prince William and wife Kate Middleton came under the radar when a French media house published photographs of Kate sunbathing topless during a vacation in southern France. The private pictures showed the Duke of Cambridge rubbing suncream on Kate's body. French magazine Closer and regional daily La Provence published the images that created a huge uproar in Britain.

"But the topless photos still appeared in several other European publications in Italy's Chi, which, like Closer, is owned by Mondadori, in Ireland's Daily Star and sister magazines in Sweden and Denmark," Channel News Asia reported. However, the media houses that published the images denied revealing their sources.

The angry royal couple immediately slapped legal proceedings against the publishing house and paparazzi. They claimed that they were subjected to mental distress as the incident brought back devastating memories of Princess Diana's car crash in 1997 after being chased by paparazzi. However, the legal case was delayed by four months after the agency photographers demanded more time for preparation.

A statement from the royal family at that time called the act as "grotesque and totally unjustifiable" invasion of Kate's privacy.

A St. James's Palace official stated at the time: "It is unthinkable that anyone should take such photographs, let alone publish them... We feel a line has been crossed with their publication."

Now, the legal tussle is all set to begin and six media representative will go on trial. According to AFP, it also includes Laurence Pieau, the editor of Closer in France, Ernesto Mauri, chief executive of the Mondadori group which owns the magazine, and Cyril Moreau and Dominique Jacovides, two Paris-based agency photographers.

"The paper's publishing director at the time, Marc Auburtin and photographer Valerie Suau will also go on trial Tuesday over those photos," the report added.

However, the royal couple will not be attending any of the trials.

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