Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge (in Chanel)

FURY IN FRANCE: In a sorry case of déjà vu, Prince William has spoken out against the paparazzi — yet again — for breaching his and the Duchess of Cambridge’s privacy during a holiday in the South of France in 2012. He compared the incident to the harassment his mother, Princess Diana, suffered from photographers after marrying Prince Charles.

He made the statement via his French lawyer at the opening of the trial against France’s Closer magazine, which in 2012 published topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing in a chateau in Provence. The royal couple were on holiday at a private villa belonging to David Linley, the prince’s cousin.

“In September 2012, my wife and I thought that we could go to France for a few days in a secluded villa owned by a member of my family, and thus enjoy our privacy. We know France and the French and we know that they are, in principle, respectful of private life including that of their guests,” wrote the prince. The declaration was read in court by the family’s lawyer, Jean Veil. “The clandestine way in which these photographs were taken was particularly shocking to us, as it breached our privacy.”

He added the incident was “all the more painful” given that his mother had died of a car crash in 1997 while being pursued by paparazzi. His words echoed a statement by St. James’s Palace, following the September 2012 incident, saying the behavior of the paparazzi was “reminiscent of the worst excesses of the press during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales.”

Prince William is demanding 1.5 million euros, or $1.6 million at current exchange, in compensation for damages from the incident. Currently Closer magazine’s editor Laurence Pieau is on trial, alongside Ernesto Mauri, chief executive officer of the Mondadori group, which owns the magazine, as well as the two Paris-based agency photographers who are suspected to have taken the topless images.

A representative from Closer magazine responded by calling the accusations “hypocritical,” given the public nature of the royal family’s lives. “Two billion people watched their wedding and we even have photos of them arriving at the maternity ward, leaving, and now Charlotte’s second birthday. It’s in the public interest to know that the potential future heirs to the throne have a solid relationship and are getting on well. It’s all part of the royal business.”

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