Kate Middleton Topless Photos: First Lady Of France Shares Her Pain

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By Palash R. Ghosh | September 15, 2012 2:27 AM EST

Kate Middleton might find some inspiration from another prominent European woman whose modesty and privacy were breached by French publications.

However, the Duchess of Cambridge may also consider the ramifications of filing lawsuits against magazines that publish questionable photographs of public figures.

Last week, Valerie Trierweiler, the domestic partner of the president of France, Francois Hollande, won a €2,000 ($2,580) judgment against a magazine that printed photos of her wearing a bikini during a holiday at Fort de Bregancon, the official presidential retreat off France’s southern coast.

The judgment against VSD magazine, which was decided by the Tribunal de Grande Instance court in Paris, actually fell far short of the €30,000 damages she was seeking.

The judge explained the rather modest fine by citing that Trierweiler "could not be unaware of the risk of having her photo taken on the beach of the head of state's official residence, which admittedly is not open to the public but which is visible from the sea.”

"We decided to pursue magazines that published the photos on their covers and which tried to sell, to catch the reader's eye with these photos,” an undeterred Frederique Giffard, Trierweiler's lawyer, told Europe 1 radio.

Trierweiler was also incensed by the accompanying article in VSD, which suggested she was seeking media exposure.

The attorney for VSD responded that the photos were “harmless.” Indeed, photographers took similar pictures of France’s former President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni, on the same beach, and no legal action ensued.

"It's quite surprising to be attacked for such ordinary pictures," Philippe Labi, the editor of VSD, told French media.

Trierweiler, who is not married to Hollande, actually filed suit against three other magazines -- Closer, Voici and Public -- for printing the offending photographs. (Closer is the same outlet that has just printed topless photos of Kate Middleton.)

However, Trierweiler did not sue Paris Match (another magazine that printed the bikini shots), reportedly because she works for them as a journalist. Thus, the imbroglio has raised questions about the propriety of the first lady of France serving as an active employee of a news outlet.

The first lady has endured a number of attacks on her personality and conduct, including charges that she is engaged in bitter and immature feud with Hollande’s former paramour, Segolene Royal.

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