On Tuesday, a French court awarded Kate Middleton more than $200,000. Per Newsweek, Prince William and Kate Middleton filed a lawsuit against the French magazine Closer after it published topless photos of Middleton in 2012. The court issued maximum fines against Closer and two of its editors.
Photographers used a long lens to capture Middleton sunbathing topless while on vacation with her husband, Prince William. Closer bought the pictures after British tabloids refused to publish photos.
The French Constitution guarantees right to privacy.
France privacy laws are some of the strictest in the world. The French Constitution holds that every citizen has a right to privacy. Civil and criminal laws uphold this ideal as well.
Anyone can petition the court for damages if their privacy has been violated. Civil remedies allow victims to claim damages and ask that the violation stop. Criminal penalties include jail time or fines.
Even in France, though, the right to privacy is not absolute. Freedom of Expression and Freedom of the Press are also carefully guarded rights. French courts look at a number of factors to determine which right prevails when two or more rights are in conflict. Some important factors are: (1) the relevance of the published material to the public debate; and (2) the public figures notoriety.
Kate Middleton’s topless pictures don’t add anything to public debate. Even though she is an extremely public figure, she doesn’t have a history of scandalous behavior. And, sunbathing topless while on a private, secluded vacation with your husband isn’t scandalous!
Middleton’s right to privacy won the day! And, thank goodness too. I don’t know if I want to live in a world where a future Queen can have her goodies published for all the world to see without her permission. Some things should be sacred, y’all, even if it is just the right to go topless on vacation.