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French magazine hands over topless Kate pics

The French magazine that published topless photos of Prince William's wife Catherine handed over files with the images Wednesday to the couple's representatives, a source close to the matter said.

French magazine hands over topless Kate pics
Photo: Tom Soper

The files were handed over after a French court on Tuesday ordered Closer magazine to present all forms of the pictures to the British royals within 24 hours or face a €10,000 ($13,000) fine for every day's delay.

Closer has said it does not own the images and simply bought them for exclusive first use, so it likely does not possess all the original files. It has refused to say from whom it bought them and who the photographer is.

A Swedish celebrity magazine meanwhile published the controversial pictures Wednesday, a day before its Danish sister magazine was to do the same.

The Swedish magazine Se och Hör splashed 11 pictures, taken during the couple's vacation in southern France several weeks ago, over three pages.

It was the fourth publication to print the paparazzi snaps which have outraged the British royal family, whose lawyers obtained a civil injunction and sought criminal charges in Paris in a bid to curb their spread.

French authorities on Tuesday banned Closer from any further distribution of the pictures and began a criminal probe into how they were obtained.

As well as ordering the magazine to hand over all forms of the pictures, the injunction also bans Closer from reusing them in print or on its website and re-selling them on pain of further €10,000 fines for each infringement.

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LAW

France’s Interior Minister defends ‘precious’ right of women to go topless

France's interior minister on Tuesday defended the right of women to sunbathe topless on beaches, after a police warning for a group who stripped off on the southern coast sparked a social media outcry.

France's Interior Minister defends 'precious' right of women to go topless
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin. Photo: AFP

French gendarmes patrolling a beach in Mediterranean seaside town Sainte-Marie-la-Mer last week asked a group of topless sunbathers to cover up in response to a complaint from a family, the local gendarmerie said in a statement on Facebook.

It acknowledged their actions had been “clumsy” but said the officers aimed wanted only to calm the situation, insisting there had been no official order to ban topless sunbathing in the town.

The mairie of Sainte-Marie-la-Mer also issued a statement clarifying that there is nothing to prevent topless sunbathing on its beaches, adding that it was “very attached to the republican principles of liberty”.

READ ALSO What are the rules around going topless or nude in France?

 

But the case prompted an avalanche of criticsm on social media, with #seinsnus (topless) trending on Twitter in France.

“Is Sainte-Marie-la-Mer now Saudi Arabia?” wondered one user, while others slammed a creeping “prudishness” in France.

“It was wrong that the women were warned about their clothing,” Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin wrote on Twitter.

“Freedom is something precious. And it is normal that officials can admit their mistakes.”

 

“You will always see me in uniform,” the spokeswoman of the French gendarmerie Maddy Scheurer wrote on Twitter, adding a smiling emoji.

“But topless sunbathing is allowed on the beach at Sainte-Marie-la-Mer. It was clumsiness by two gendarmes who had the best intentions.”

Topless sunbathing in France is legally not considered to be sexual exhibitionism although it can be halted by local directives outlawing certain styles of dress.

But far from everyone in France takes their tops off on the beach these days and topless sunbathing has become less popular in recent years.

Surveys show that younger women are increasingly concerned about sexual harassment and body shaming on the beach.

Less than 20 percent of French women aged under 50 now sunbathe topless, compared with 28 percent 10 years ago and 43 percent in 1984, according to a recent survey by pollster Ifop of over 5,000 Europeans including 1,000 French.

This makes the French less willing to bathe topless than some other Europeans, with almost half of Spanish women saying they bathe topless and 34 percent of Germans.

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