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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have said their privacy has been invade in “a grotesque and totally unjustifiable manner” following the publication of photos of the Duchess topless.

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St James’s Palace released a statement following the publication of the photos by Closer magazine in France, likening the incident to the “worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales”.

The images were taken during a holiday the Duchess of Cambridge took with Prince William last week at a chateau owned by the Queen’s nephew Lord Linley in Provence.

The statement said in full: “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.

“The Duke and Duchess remain focused currently on their Tour of Singapore, Malaysia, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu on behalf of HM The Queen.”

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