PARIS -- It's a moral victory for the royals.
As Prince William and wife Kate continue their Diamond Jubilee antics in the Far East, AP is reporting that although the magazine has been on the newsstands since Friday, a French court has ordered the publisher of Closer to hand over all its digital copies of topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge within 24 hours, and the court blocked the further publication of the images.
Under the ruling, Closer, which proudly printed 14 photos of partially clad Kate enjoying some sunshine with her hubby, Prince William, cannot publish the images of an intimate moment in the south of France any further, including on its website and tablet app. The mag will face a daily fine of about $13,000 if it doesn't comply.
If the royal family had hoped to block international publication, it's too late. Publications in Ireland and Italy already have put them into circulation. Tuesday's ruling only affects French publisher, Montedori Magazines France.
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"These snapshots which showed the intimacy of a couple, partially naked on the terrace of a private home, surrounded by a park several hundred meters from a public road, and being able to legitimately assume that they are protected from passers-by, are by nature particularly intrusive," the French ruling decreed. "(They) were thus subjected to this brutal display the moment the cover appeared."
The ruling listed the royal couple by their full names: William Arthur Philip Louis Mountbatten-Windsor and Catherine Elizabeth Middleton.
Maud Sobel, a lawyer for the royal couple, described it as "a wonderful decision," adding, "We've been vindicated."
The case is the first of two legal actions by the British royals. In a reflection of just how intent they are on protecting their privacy -- and likely dissuading paparazzi from future ventures -- St. James's Palace said family lawyers would be filing a criminal complaint.
Christopher Mesnooh, an American lawyer who works in Paris, noted to AP that while the ruling is vindication for the royal family, the money fine isn't enough to dissuade publication of similar photos.
"If you sell 100,000 copies, you're ahead of the game," he noted.