Prince William's wife Catherine
A French magazine on Friday published topless pictures of Prince William's wife Catherine taken while the pair were on holiday in France, in a move met with dismay by the royal couple.
Announcing a world exclusive, Closer magazine invited readers on its website to pick up he new edition to enjoy "the photos that the world can't wait to see; the Duchess of Cambridge topless on a guesthouse terrace".
Splashed on the front cover and inside on five pages, many of the grainy photos feature what appears to be the young couple together with Kate wearing just the bottoms of a black and white bikini, reports AFP.
The pictures were sure to create a worldwide media frenzy less than a month after the publication of nude photos of William's brother Harry.
The snaps were taken on the terrace of the Autet Chateau in the southern French region of Provence where William and Kate were said to have been on vacation last week.
The magazine said the chateau was owned by Viscount Linley, the son of Queen Elizabeth's late sister Princess Margaret.
The couple are currently in Malaysia and a source travelling with them said that "their royal highnesses were saddened to learn about the alleged photos".
"The incident, if true, turns the clock back 15 years," the source said, referring to the intense media attention on William's late mother Diana, who died in a car crash while fleeing paparazzi in Paris in 1997.
The royal source added that the monarchy was investigating the authenticity of the photos and would then "make a decision about what to do".
The story was picked up in the British media on Friday, less than a month after the publication of naked pictures of Harry in a Las Vegas hotel.