French gossip magazine Closer has bought photographs of the Duchess made at the swimming pool at as she and Prince William enjoyed a private sunshine holiday this month.
The royal couple believed they would not be photographed as they stayed at the magnificent Chateau D’Autet in Provence, owned by a nephew of the Queen, reports The Mirror.
Kate and her husband were shocked after being told about the news and shown copies of the pictures this morning over breakfast in Kuala Lumpur, where they are on a four-day visit.
“Their royal highnesses were saddened to learn about the alleged photos,” a royal source travelling with the couple told reporters. “The incident, if true, turns the clock back 15 years.”
The Royal source revealed to reporters: “The Duke and Duchess were told about the pictures at breakfast and they have seen the pictures on the website.”
“At the moment we haven’t been in a position to verify whether they are genuine, and we are not going to take any action or consider taking any action until we have been able to consider the photos properly, then we will consider our options.”
Princess Diana was killed in August 1997 when her car crashed in Paris as it was being pursued by paparazzi photographers.
According to The Telegraph, “the fact that Palace sources alluded to the Princess’s death showed the depth of their anger at the controversy, which threatens to overshadow the couple’s foreign tour.”
Closer promised to publish leaked photos, providing teaser the magazine’s website last night reading “World Exclusive; Kate and William in Provence: Oh My God!”
The edition also published a pixelated version on its cover, which appears to show Middleton in a bikini, apparently about to remove her top.
The magazine’s editor Laurence Pieau said Prince Harry would feel “less alone” when the issue hit the stands this morning, writes Oh No They Didn’t!.
“A little more than a year after their marriage, the royal couple was offered a romantic getaway, far from the protocol and etiquette in their very own garden of Eden,” the Closer website teaser reads.
“Almost alone in the world … because Closer was there! After the holidays of Prince Harry in Las Vegas, discover the very sensual shots of Kate Middleton and her husband Prince William.”
“Discover the incredible pictures of the future Queen of England as you’ve never seen her before … and as you will never see her again!”
Buckingham officials announced their decision to contact lawyers in France to discuss all options available to them once they have had a chance to verify that the pictures are genuine.
A Royal source said: “This is disappointing, saddening and turns the clock back 15 years. We have always maintained the position that the Duke and Duchess deserve their privacy, not least when they are on holiday in their own swimming pool.”
He went on, adding: “One option is to let public opinion take its course, another option is to talk to our lawyers in the UK and France, to talk to Closer and the photographer.”