Could We Please Allow The Former Kate Middleton, Duchess Of Cambridge To Sunbathe Topless In Peace?

A French magazine owned by Silvio Berlusconi has published grainy photos of the former Kate Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge, sunbathing topless in a thong bikini while on holiday in Provence, prompting a lawsuit. Various websites, including Gawker and Egotastic, and newspapers, such as Ireland’s Daily Star, have reproduced the photos, which appear to have been taken by paparazzi staking their villa out from a neighboring property.

Surprisingly, the British tabloids have so far refrained from republishing the voyeur shots according to a story in Saturday’s New York Times. Let’s hope they’ve learned a lesson from the way they harassed Princess Diana. But it’s a shame that William and Kate can’t enjoy even a bit of privacy while on vacation. One of the great joys of travel is the opportunity to reinvent oneself and to do things that you might not do at home. The royals and other celebrities don’t have that luxury but I don’t think many will be shedding tears for them.How many women around the world would gladly trade places with Kate, even if it meant that they’d have to be a bit more careful while sunbathing topless? I’m also a bit surprised that William and Kate wouldn’t be a bit more paranoid knowing how the paparazzi are. But according to the story in the New York Times, the villa they stayed in advertised itself as a very private secluded hideaway.

“The villa complex, built around a 19th-century hunting lodge called the Château d’Autet, is set in 640 acres of woodland and can house up to 17 people at four main properties. Apart from being a vacation retreat for Lord Linley and his family, it has also been rented out for thousands of dollars a week, offering guests a variety of recreational options including a tennis court, a swimming pool and an area to play the French bowling game called boule.”

In any case, they’ll certainly be more guarded moving forward after this incident, which comes on the heels of Prince Harry getting caught with his pants down while on holiday in Vegas. The British press also got scooped on that debacle and CNN called their restrained coverage of the story a “watershed moment for the UK press.” But in the Internet age, it almost doesn’t matter what the print publications do, because there’s always going to be some website that will satisfy the public’s curiosity.

That’s the downside to fame but I wish that everyone had the ability to cut loose while on vacation, because everyone deserves the right to let their hair, or bathing suit top, down now and then.

[Photo by UK Repsome on Flickr]

Parisians fight male nudity, rest of France fine for bare chests

France used to be cool. City officials across the country used to turn a blind eye when it came to going topless … though I think a few of them were probably peeking. Now, they’re making people cover up and even throwing in some fine. Going bare from the waist up will set you back €38, money you could have used to buy a t-shirt to accomplish the same result.

Perpignan is the latest city to get on board with this trend, which started in resort towns like Cannes and St Tropez before working its way inward. “Hygiene,” “standing” and “public decency” are cited as the reasons.

According to the Independent:

“We’re not saying there’s been a general moral decline, but some people have complained,” Perpignan’s local security chief, Pierre Parrat, told Midi Libre. The law calls for “human dignity, decency, morality and protection of the young”.

Now, you’ve probably been thinking this rule has been limited to the ladies, but it’s equal-opportunity. Even men have to cover up:

Mr [Pierre] Parrat [local security chief] said the citizens of Perpignan found it shocking to see the naked chests of some men, in particular a group of English rugby supporters who stripped off while in the city for a recent match.

In fact, Parisians have taken the fight against public nudity to the counterintuitive extreme. According to a waiter in the Pigalle neighborhood, “A girl in a bikini in the centre of town is lovely, but children should not have to see hairy chests.”

[photo by adactio via Flickr]