Two charged over intimate Kate photos

The head of a major publishing group and a photographer were charged this month over the publication of intimate photos of Prince William's wife Catherine, sources said Wednesday.

The photos -- some of them of the former Kate Middleton topless -- were printed in two separate publications in September, causing a huge furore and leading to the royal couple launching legal proceedings in France.

According to sources close to the case, the head of the Mondadori Group -- the publisher of glossy magazine Closer where the topless shots were printed -- and a photographer at regional daily La Provence, were both charged.

Judges in the Paris suburb of Nanterre charged the photographer with "invasion of privacy" for taking photos of the former Kate Middleton in a swimsuit while she was on holiday in the south of France with her husband.

Those shots were published in La Provence. But the most intimate shots showing the Duchess of Cambridge topless and having suncream rubbed into her buttocks by William were published in Closer.

Judges are still investigating who took those photos.

Ernesto Mauri, the chief executive of Mondadori, was meanwhile also charged with "invasion of privacy" for having let the topless shots be published.

The pictures were taken while the couple sunned themselves on the terrace of a chateau in the south of France.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge launched legal proceedings as soon as they were published, and French authorities promptly banned Closer from any further publication or resale of the topless pictures, while launching a criminal probe into how they were obtained.

The couple's lawyer, Aurelien Hamelle, told an injunction hearing in September that the images of William and his wife were of "a highly intimate moment" in the life of a young married couple that had no place on the cover of a magazine.

The lawyer also argued that the images were particularly distressing for the couple in light of William's mother Princess Diana's 1997 death in a car that crashed in a Paris tunnel while being pursued by paparazzi.

Local newspaper La Provence published pictures of the royal couple at the chateau on September 7 but denied that its photographer had taken the topless images.