In September, photos of a topless Kate Middleton were published in French magazine Closer. A month of lawsuits, controversy and outraged royals has since passed; and the furore continues – albeit with less intensity. Prince William is said to be furious at what his office is calling a 'grotesque and totally unjustifiable' invasion of privacy. Instead of the royal couple's tour of South East Asia inviting attention, it was another kind of pair that drew the world's focus. As more photos surface in various magazines, all of this begs the question – at what point did boobs become news?
In today’s celebrity obsessed culture, the actions of the stars are scrutinised in fine detail. Where they shop, what diet they're on, who they're dating...the list goes on. And whilst by putting themselves in the public eye, they are inviting a certain amount of attention, at what point is the line crossed, and attention becomes something slightly more sinister? The hacking of celebrity phones to obtain indecent photos of the owner wearing very little, if anything, has become commonplace, with victims including Rihanna, Vanessa Ann Hudgens and Carly Rae Jepsen. I enjoy a bit of celebrity gossip as much as the next person, but since when was it acceptable to steal someone's private property (if we can call photos that) and display them to millions, without permission?
In defending the publication of the initial photos the editor of Closer, Laurence Pieau, said that they were 'not even shocking' and showed a topless woman sunbathing in the same way that millions do every year. Whilst this may be true, the fact that the woman in question was the wife of the future King of England surely changes the circumstances a little. Indeed, if the photos did not show an unusual situation, why is it that they should gather press interest in the first place? Prince William certainly felt that way, drawing comparisons with the paparazzi's treatment of his mother, which ultimately contributed to her death. Whilst it has been suggested that Kate should not have been topless outside in the first place, it is equally arguable that she is entitled to a certain amount of privacy. I don't know many women who would like intimate photos to be taken without their knowledge, and spread around the world for all to see!
When quizzed, male friends all agreed that the photos shouldn't have been taken. However quite a few were interested in seeing them, despite saying that it was 'insensitive' and not the way they wanted to think of our future monarch. It is notable that the photos have not yet, and are unlikely to appear in any British publications. Perhaps the truly British attitude to nudity has prevailed, although considering the recent naked Harry photos, this seems unlikely. Perhaps the reason is in fact that we do not want or need to see our future Queen exposed. As a young woman on holiday, perhaps she should be allowed time to relax, away from a life in which every outfit choice, move and possibility of a baby bump is analysed.
French magazine Closer, as the first source to publish the photos, has faced legal action and is consequently unable to sell or re-use the images of Kate and Will holidaying at a relatively secluded mansion in the South of France. Whilst a symbolic ruling, this has not stopped other publications from featuring increasingly nude pictures of the Duke and Duchess. The damage has been done; the images out there for the world to see. Kate even reached the Top 5 most searched UK babes on a porn website – something she probably didn't expect to result from a holiday in the sun! As long as the consequences of publishing such photos remain relatively insignificant, it is doubtful that the news will be free from boobs for a long time at all.
What do you think – should boobs make the news? Or are people entitled to a certain amount of privacy?