Scandinavian magazines publish topless Kate photos

Pia Ohlin
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A Swedish celebrity magazine has published pictures of Prince William's wife Catherine sunbathing topless

Prince William (L) and his wife Catherine attend a farewell ceremony in Tuvalu on September 19, 2012. A Swedish celebrity magazine published pictures of Catherine sunbathing topless, a day before a Danish publication was to do the same despite fury from the royals.

A Swedish celebrity magazine published pictures of Prince William's wife Catherine sunbathing topless, a day before a Danish publication was to do the same despite fury from the royals.

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

Five of the photographs show the princess' bare breasts, and one grainy shot taken from the front shows her removing her turquoise-coloured bikini bottoms.

The magazine was the fourth publication to print the paparazzi pictures which have outraged the royal family.

They were first published by French magazine Closer last week, then in Ireland's Daily Star and Italy's Chi magazine. They have already been widely circulated on the Internet.

"This is nothing unusual, these are quite nice pictures if you compare them with other celebrity pictures that we publish all the time," Se och Hoer chief editor Carina Loefkvist told AFP.

The publication in Sweden did not make headlines, with only two tabloids mentioning it and the rest of the media ignoring it.

Loefkvist had no figures for the number of copies Se och Hoer sold on Wednesday.

"It's been a bit of a topic of conversation... but it's nothing special," she said.

The magazine had a regular weekly circulation of 105,600 in 2011.

Se och Hoer belongs to the Denmark-based Aller Media company that also owns the Danish celebrity magazine Se og Hoer, which announced that it also plans to publish a 16-page spread with the pictures on Thursday.

Neither the Swedish nor the Danish magazine were going to make the pictures available online.

Loefkvist said her magazine bought the pictures on Friday "from photographers and photo agencies, the way we always do" and "before everything erupted".

Of the 11 pictures it printed, only one shows Kate fully clothed, wearing a pink dress, while one is of the house where they were staying. None of the photos is credited.

The chief editor of the Danish magazine, Kim Henningsen, said he was "incredibly proud" to have obtained the sole Danish rights to the photos.

"Our readers love to follow the lives of the royals and they want scoops," he said on the magazine's website, noting these were photographs "which the whole world is talking about but very few have actually seen".

The decision to publish the photos has incensed the royal family, whose lawyers have obtained a civil injunction and sought criminal charges in Paris in a bid to curb their spreading.

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

The court also ordered the magazine to hand over the files with the images to the royal couple, which the publication did on Wednesday.

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.

The French court also banned Closer from reusing the pictures in print or on its website and re-selling them on pain of further 10,000-euro ($13,000) fines for each infringement.

Asked about Thursday's publication in the Danish magazine, a spokeswoman for St James's Palace, the office of Prince William and Catherine, issued a similar comment to the one made after the publication in Italy.

"As we've said, we will not be commenting on potential legal action concerning the alleged intended publication of the photos save to say that all proportionate responses will be kept under review," a spokeswoman said.

Loefkvist said she was "not really" concerned about any potential legal action over the Swedish magazine's decision to print the photos.

"We'll have to see what they think of it ... This was a regular news judgement," she said.

In Sweden, the press is governed by a self-regulated code of ethics and not legislation.

Complaints can be filed to a so-called Press Ombudsman, who decides whether to take the matter before a kind of tribunal, called the Press Council.

A newspaper found in violation of good journalistic practice is expected to publish the Press Council's written decision and pay an administrative fine.

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