September 19, 2018 / 4:16 PM / a month ago

French court dismisses appeal over topless photos of British Duchess

PARIS (Reuters) - A French court on Wednesday threw out an appeal by celebrity magazine Closer against a 2017 ruling that it invaded the privacy of Prince William’s wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, when it published topless photos of her in 2012.

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge takes her seat in a State Carriage for the carriage procession to Buckingham Palace, as part of the ceremonial welcome ceremony for Singapore's President Tony Tan at the start of a state visit at Horse Guards Parade in London October 21, 2014. REUTERS/Leon Neal/Pool

Laurence Pieau, an editor of Closer’s French edition, and Ernesto Mauri, the chief executive of Italian publisher Mondadori (MOED.MI), the magazine’s owner, were each handed maximum fines of 45,000 euros ($52,582) in September last year.

Closer magazine, a weekly round-up of gossip about the rich and famous, was also ordered to pay 100,000 euros in damages to William, second-in-line to the British throne, and his wife.

Lawyers for the two men argued the fines were excessive for a privacy case, French media reported.

The Versailles appeals court found that the fines imposed by the initial ruling were “fair and proportionate”, court documents showed.

Closer published a series of topless photos of Kate taken as she relaxed on the balcony on a chateau in southeastern France’s Luberon region.

Closer magazine’s lawyers had sought in the original trial to justify publication of the photos on public interest grounds, saying they disproved rumours circulating at the time that Kate might be anorexic.

Reporting by Emmanuel Jarry; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Leigh Thomas

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