The Royal Family in London is reported to be angry about the publication of photographs showing Kate Middleton, the four-months-pregnant wife of Prince William, strolling on a public Caribbean beach in a bikini.
The Daily Mail, which appears to be as angry as St. James Palace about the publication outside its pages of one of the most coveted photos in the world, describes the photos as showing Kate "wearing a bright blue halter-neck bikini with her slightly rounded stomach clearly visible. Her arm is draped over her husband's shoulders while William, who is wearing blue baggy shorts and sunglasses, has an arm protectively around his wife's back."
The photographs, taken on the exclusive island retreat of Mustique, were published in an Italian and an Australian magazine, and have reportedly been sold for as much as £250,000 to magazines in the United States, Germany, France and elsewhere, according to the Daily Mail.
The U.K. newspaper, which has had few qualms about running racy and embarrassing photos of celebrities and royalty in the past, labels the Italian magazine that ran the photos as "tawdry." Chi magazine was already in the Royal Family's bad books for running photos of Kate sunbathing nude, and also, most infamously, for publishing a picture of Princess Diana in the minutes after her fatal car crash in Paris in 1997.
A spokesman for the palace called the new pictures "violating" and said: "We are disappointed that photographs of the Duke and Duchess on a private holiday look likely to be published overseas. This is a clear breach of the couple's right to privacy."
But the editor of the Australian magazine Woman's Day, which along with Chi ran what amount to the world's first baby-bump photos of Kate Middleton, argues that the couple were walking on a public beach with other members of the public, and that the photographs weren't taken by paparazzi but by a (now much wealthier) private citizen.
Mustique is a famous playground for the rich and famous. It is privately owned, held by a company whose shareholders include the 100 or so homeowners on the island, Mick Jagger and David Bowie included. As a private island, it can ban paparazzi, an attractive feature for royal family members and other camera-shy types.
The fact that someone violated that expectation of privacy on one of the beaches the public is allowed to use is especially galling to the royal family.
But, as Fiona Connolly, the editor of Woman's Day told the Daily Mail, pregnant women walk on beaches all the time. "Our readers are going to love these photos. I don't expect any backlash at all really. I think she's looking fabulous and healthy and (with) a beautiful bump, like we haven't seen her before."