Thumbing its nose at legal threats made by the royal family, the Italian magazine Chi today went ahead with its promise to publish a multi-page spread featuring topless photos of Kate Middleton taken from the set that first appeared last week in its French sister-publication, Closer.
Despite the announcement that lawyers for the royal family plan to sue the French photographer who captured the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing on a terrace in a private villa in Provence, Chi's editor, Alfonso Signorini, was unconcerned, tweeting that "not even a direct call from the Queen" would stop the presses.
There are said to be some 200 photos in all, but only 18 were picked for the spread in Chi, which is owned along with Closer by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Mondadori group.
"If I had had more scandalous photos I would have willingly published them," Signorini told a local newspaper, likely in reference to suggestions that the photo set contained more intimate content. YouPorn.com has gone so far as to offer an "open check" in exchange for the alleged sex photos, but Signorini's response indicates that none exist.
Still, the photos that do exist are scandalous enough: The Irish Daily Star is facing the possibility of being shut down after it republished a few of Closer's photos over the weekend.
"I am very angry at the decision to publish these photographs, and am taking immediate steps to close down the joint venture," said British media mogul Richard Desmond, whose company, Northern & Shell, co-owner the tabloid with Independent News Media.
Meanwhile, Marina Berlusconi, Silvio Berlusconi's daughter and Mondadori's chairwoman, responded to critics of her company by saying the publishing house "did its job" in upholding freedom of the press. In his interview, Signorini responded by saying the Duchess was "not exactly Alice in Wonderland, she should have expected this."