Paris/Wellington - Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate filed a criminal complaint in France on Monday over the publication by Closer magazine of photographs of the princess sunbathing topless at a private villa.
Lawyers for the couple filed a complaint for breach of privacy with prosecutors in the Paris suburb of Nanterre, where a judge was to hear their request for an injunction against the magazine in a separate civil case later in the day.
"We can confirm that a criminal complaint has been made to the French Prosecution Department today," a spokesperson for the royal family said.
France has strict privacy laws. Both the editor of the magazine, which was the first to print the controversial photographs, and the photographer could face up to a year's imprisonment and/or a fine of €45 000.
'Normal' young woman
In the meantime, the couple are seeking an injunction forcing the magazine to withdraw the edition with the pictures and banning it from publishing them on the web.
The case comes as Italian gossip magazine Chi, a sister magazine of Closer, became the third outlet to publish the photographs in a special 28-page report on the British royal family.
The editor of the magazine, which is owned by the family of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, defended the photos as showing the duchess acting as a "normal" young woman, "similar in all respects to millions of girls all over the world."
Meanwhile, the Irish Daily Star faced possible closure after its co-owner Richard Desmond reacted angrily to its decision to print the photographs.
Desmond, whose Northern & Shell group owns the Daily Express and Daily Star, said he would take "immediate steps" to cancel its contract with the paper after it splashed 13 pictures of the topless princess across its Saturday edition.
All smiles and charm
If Kate and William were upset by the fuss in Europe, they did not show it during their tour of Asia and the Pacific, which on Monday brought them to the Solomon Islands capital Honiara.
The royals made a visit to the prime minister's office before viewing a display of local culture from island provinces.
Television New Zealand reported that Kate was all smiles and charm as she wore a yellow shirt-dress and signature nude pumps at the visit to the cultural village.
The Duchess of Cambridge also pulled in the crowds when she visited a women's centre in a nearby village, where she discussed the high levels of violence in one of the world's poorest nations.
The couple arrived on Sunday and were treated to a traditional welcome before boarding an open-top vehicle in the shape of a canoe with a leaf canopy that carried them through the capital.
The royals were due to board a flight to Marau, where they will travel by boat to the island of Marapa. A war canoe was to take them on to Tavanipupu, where they were to spend the night in a remote and exclusive resort.
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