Is privacy dead? For Kate the answer is sadly yes
At about the same time last week that news broke a French magazine was about to publish some topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge an American actress of the rising-star variety “accidentally” Tweeted a naked picture of herself.
It probably says a lot about how big a gulf the Atlantic Ocean really is. While the immediate and unanimous reaction to the Kate pictures has been condemnation and disgust that a private holiday with her husband was infiltrated and exploited in such a manner, across the ditch Alison Pill and her boyfriend both laughed off her self-inflicted breach of privacy.
The biggest difference between the two cases, of course, is that the Duchess quite reasonably thought she was alone with her husband, unaware that more than a kilometre away a grub with a giant telephoto lens was crashing their private party.
It came just weeks after her brother-in-law’s backside (and, er, front side) was splashed across the internet for all to see. His party was not so private. No telephoto lens was required in the snapping of the Harry pics, which were much more explicit and revealing than the grainy images of Kate.
Prince Harry might have been upset about the breach, and questions might have been rightly raised about his security protection, but it was hard to feel sorry for him that during a naked drunken frolic with a group of strangers one of them took it upon themselves to document the event.
The Kate case seems so much more clear cut.
She was in a private house, on private property, in France - a country with some of the tightest anti-papparazi laws around.
Those laws were introduced partially in response to the death of her husband’s mother, the late Princess Diana.
Of all places Kate clearly thought it was safe to work on getting rid of her tan lines.
The photographers involved in rolling around in the undergrowth on the side of the road, would have been well aware of the laws, and well aware of the public sentiment of goodwill towards the Prince and his wife.
But it was no deterrent. Even if the photographer who took the topless photos goes to jail, 10 more will be there to take his place.
Another photographer who took part in the nipple-hunting party is totally unrepentant, with a colleague telling The Daily Mail: “There were other people around, including walkers and cyclists, as well as staff at the chateau. The Duchess was sure to have known this, and perhaps should have been a bit more careful about displaying her body in such a prominent position.”
By Royal standards it’s a pretty boring story. She wasn’t having her toes sucked by a someone other than her husband. As weird as this might be, however, a market exists for a glimpse of the Royal Nipples.
(Go on, admit that you Googled the story to find the unpixelated photos).
So I’m not saying this is the right thing, but the reality for Kate, and other people in the eye of the storm of public interest, is that she will need to be more careful.
A secluded private estate is just not going to be secluded and private enough for her to indulge in the kind of behaviour that is completely normal for the rest of us. Unless she decides she doesn’t care, which is unlikely.
Surely Richard Branson has an island somewhere he could lend them?
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