Saturday, September 15, 2012

Berlusconi Magazine to Publish Duchess Photos - New York Times

ROME â€" An Italian magazine owned by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi announced Saturday that it planned to publish photographs of the former Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, sunbathing topless, just as its sister French magazine did on Friday.

Chi magazine, which is owned by the Mondadori group and is widely seen as the in-house magazine of the Berlusconi family, said that on Monday it would publish a 26-page photo spread of the princess. Images of the magazine’s cover appeared in the Italian news media on Saturday.

The Irish Daily Star, a tabloid in Ireland, also published the pictures on Saturday, running them over two inside pages, The Associated Press reported. The editor, Mike O’Kane, told the BBC that the photos were not in the edition of The Star that was distributed in Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.

Mondadori owns Closer, the French magazine that first published the photos, which were taken last month while Kate and her husband, Prince William, were on vacation in the south of France. Coming just weeks after British tabloids published pictures of Prince Harry playing strip poker in Las Vegas, the photos have set off an intense national debate in Britain about the limits of royal family privacy.

The royal couple’s office announced Friday that it had begun legal proceedings against Closer. On Saturday, it condemned the Irish paper, saying, “There can be no motivation for this action other than greed,” The A.P. said.

In Rome, Alfonso Signorini, the editor of Chi, said in a telephone interview that he was not afraid of lawsuits because the images are “not damaging to her dignity.” He called the photos “a journalistic scoop.”

“They are certainly images of historical import,” Mr. Signorini said. “For the first time, the future queen of England is seen in her natural state.”

On Friday, the office of Prince William and Kate called the publication of the photos in Closer “grotesque and totally unjustifiable.”

Mr. Signorini, who declined to reveal how much his magazine had paid for the photos, dismissed the idea that publishing the photos might be seen as revenge by Mr. Berlusconi on European tabloids that had mocked him. Mr. Berlusconi, who left office last November amid market turmoil, is facing trial on charges that he paid for sex with an underage Moroccan prostitute.

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