A French court ruled Tuesday that a French celebrity magazine must pay 100,000 euros in damages to Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate over topless photos of the duchess published in 2012.
The court also ordered Closer magazine’s editor Laurence Pieau and publisher Ernesto Mauri to each pay 45,000 euros ($53,000) in fines, the maximum possible.
The couple had sought 1.5 million euros in damages and interest.
Closer magazine’s lawyer Paul-Albert Iweins said he was “pleased” with the ruling on the damages to pay, but said the fine was “exaggerated for a simple private matter.”
For his part, the royal couple’s lawyer Jean Veil declined to comment, adding that Kensington Palace would make a statement.
The grainy snaps of Kate Middleton sunbathing in a bikini bottom were taken while she was on holiday in September 2012 in the south of France with her husband, the second in line to the British throne.
The couple were snapped with a long lens relaxing by a pool at a chateau belonging to Viscount Linley, a nephew of Queen Elizabeth.
The pictures triggered a furious reaction from the royal family in Britain, where several newspapers rejected an offer to buy the pictures.
Closer, a glossy gossip magazine, was the first to splash them on its cover, and they were later reproduced in several other European publications, including Chi in Italy and Ireland’s Daily Star.
The royals — who announced Monday they are expecting a third child — filed a criminal complaint for invasion of privacy and obtained an injunction preventing further use of the images.
In a letter read out in court, William said the case reminded him of the paparazzi hounding of his mother, princess Diana, who was killed in a car crash in Paris 20 years ago.
Two Paris-based agency photographers, were each given fines of 10,000 euros, with 5,000 euros suspended.
The prosecution had called for “very heavy” fines for the editor of the French Closer and Mondadori France, which is part of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s media empire.
The royals had joined the case as civil plaintiffs.
During the trial, Closer’s lawyers argued that the pictures were in the public interest and conveyed a “positive image” of the royals.
The court also ordered the magazine to hand over the files with the images to the royal couple.
They learned of their impending publication while on an Asia-Pacific tour to mark the diamond jubilee of William’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth II.