Harbottle & Lewis has picked up its second Royal Family privacy instruction in a matter of weeks amidst a storm over topless pictures of Kate Middleton.
Senior partner Gerrard Tyrrell has been instructed by St James’s Palace after French magazine Closer, owned by an Italian-based Mondadori, published photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge taken during the royal couple’s private holiday in France.
Tyrrell will now be advising the couple on what legal action they can take and is also currently liaising with French lawyers.
It follows Tyrrell being brought in to assist Buckingham Palace when naked pictures of Prince Harry emerged from inside a Las Vegas hotel room (24 August 2012).
In a statement, a St James’s Palace spokesperson said: “Their Royal Highnesses have been hugely saddened to learn that a French publication and a photographer have invaded their privacy in such a grotesque and totally unjustifiable manner.
“The incident is reminiscent of the worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, and all the more upsetting to The Duke and Duchess for being so.
“Their Royal Highnesses had every expectation of privacy in the remote house. It is unthinkable that anyone should take such photographs, let alone publish them.
“Officials acting on behalf of Their Royal Highnesses are consulting with lawyers to consider what options may be available to The Duke and Duchess.”
Caroline Jan, Kingsley Napley media group solicitor, said: “The French magazine publishing pictures of the Duchess is clearly testing the water in a country where privacy laws are stricter than in the UK.
“This comes at a time when the British media are being particularly careful about what they publish following the Leveson inquiry and are taking into account reactions from both the Palace and the British people to publication of the Prince Harry photos.
“This is a big test for French celebrity magazines which, over the past few years, have been increasingly influenced by the English and American cultures in their reporting style, pictures and scoops.”