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British royal begins landmark visit to Paris

Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, begins her first solo official visit abroad on Monday, a two-day sojourn to Paris that will include a trip to a charity of which she is a leading patron, a tour of the Louvre, and a stop at a haute couture workshop.

British royal begins landmark visit to Paris
Camilla (centre) will be withour Prince Charles (left) or even Kate Middleton (right) on her Paris visit this week. Photo: John Stillwell/AFP

"The Duchess is visiting France on her own for the first time without Prince Charles and it is her first official visit abroad on her own," an official from the British embassy told AFP.

"The centrepiece of her visit will be a tour of Emmaus," an international charitable movement founded in Paris in 1949 by the Catholic priest Abbe Pierre to combat poverty and homelessness, he said.

The wife of the heir to the British throne is a president of Emmaus in Britain.

Camilla will visit the Emmaus facility on Monday afternoon in the posh western Paris suburb of Bougival, where Abbe Pierre converted a factory to provide shelter for 30 homeless people.

It now houses a shop selling unwanted and donated goods – ranging from furniture and electronic items to rare books, raising more than €3 million in sales every year on average.

She will visit the communal and kitchen areas and deliver a speech in French before going on to another Emmaus facility in the nearby town of Chatou – a workshop where electric goods are repaired before being sold.

The Duchess of Cornwall will attend a reception in her honour at the British embassy on Monday evening where British writers, actors, chefs, influential fashion designers and entrepreneurs have been invited.

On Tuesday, Camilla will visit a barracks of the Republican Guard near the famed Place de la Bastille for a cavalry display, meander in a city market and
visit a haute couture workshop before making a private one-hour visit to the Louvre.

"It combines the things dear to her heart– her commitment to Emmaus, her love for horses and her interest in fashion," the official said.

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ROYAL

French magazine must pay 190,000 euros over Kate Middleton topless pics

A French court ruled Tuesday that a French celebrity magazine must pay 100,000 euros in damages to Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate over topless photos of the duchess published in 2012.

French magazine must pay 190,000 euros over Kate Middleton topless pics
AFP
 
The court also ordered Closer magazine's editor Laurence Pieau and publisher Ernesto Mauri to each pay 45,000 euros ($53,000) in fines, the maximum possible.
   
The couple had sought 1.5 million euros in damages and interest.
   
Closer magazine's lawyer Paul-Albert Iweins said he was “pleased” with the ruling on the damages to pay, but said the fine was “exaggerated for a simple private matter.”
   
For his part, the royal couple's lawyer Jean Veil declined to comment, adding that Kensington Palace would make a statement.
 
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AFP  
   
The grainy snaps of Kate Middleton sunbathing in a bikini bottom were taken while she was on holiday in September 2012 in the south of France with her husband, the second in line to the British throne.
   
The couple were snapped with a long lens relaxing by a pool at a chateau belonging to Viscount Linley, a nephew of Queen Elizabeth.
   
The pictures triggered a furious reaction from the royal family in Britain, where several newspapers rejected an offer to buy the pictures.
   
Closer, a glossy gossip magazine, was the first to splash them on its cover, and they were later reproduced in several other European publications, including Chi in Italy and Ireland's Daily Star.
   
The royals — who announced Monday they are expecting a third child — filed a criminal complaint for invasion of privacy and obtained an injunction preventing further use of the images.
   
In a letter read out in court, William said the case reminded him of the paparazzi hounding of his mother, princess Diana, who was killed in a car crash in Paris 20 years ago.
   
Two Paris-based agency photographers,  were each given fines of 10,000 euros, with 5,000 euros suspended.
 
'Positive image'
 
The prosecution had called for “very heavy” fines for the editor of the French Closer and Mondadori France, which is part of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's media empire.
   
The royals had joined the case as civil plaintiffs.
   
During the trial, Closer's lawyers argued that the pictures were in the public interest and conveyed a “positive image” of the royals.
   
The court also ordered the magazine to hand over the files with the images to the royal couple.
   
They learned of their impending publication while on an Asia-Pacific tour to mark the diamond jubilee of William's grandmother Queen Elizabeth II.