One major thing the British Royal Family has understood and learned to live with since the rise of tabloid media in the 20th Century was just how much attention and scrutiny is being trained on them by the press. Some elements of these media hounds can be so shameless in their obsession with finding a juicy item about the Royals to make public.

The late Princess Diana of Wales had been one of the most famous Royal victims of this sort of privacy intrusion, such as when she was photographed exercising in fitting workout clothes and even when she was already separated from Prince Charles.

Paparazzi did indirectly cause her 1997 death after all.

But these days a new target is rising to some unwanted prominence. It’s none other than Duchess Catherine, wife of Prince William the Duke of Cambridge. And already the couple is taking some hard-hitting action.

Royal suit

Prince William and Kate are suing a French gossip rag that has done them the affront of publishing some photos of the Duchess while topless in 2012. The lawyer for the French mag “Closer” (a separate entity from the British “Closer”) reveals that the Royal couple is seeking €1.5 million ($1.6 million) in damages from the trial, which began in France Tuesday May 2.

The defendants for the suit consist of six people from both “Closer” magazine and the regional newspaper “La Provence”.

They stand accused to taking pictures of a topless Duchess Kate while she was sunbathing topless at a private villa in the south of France while she and her Royal husband were on vacation in 2012, near a year after their 2011 marriage.

Conflicting images

Needless to say, the resultant uproar at the Royal Court of St. James brought some uncomfortable similarities for Kate to Princess Diana, Prince William’s mother.

A palace spokesman in 2012, when the photos came out, described the event as one of the “worst excesses” of press and paparazzi where the Royal Family was concerned.

On the other hand, “Closer” defense lawyer Paul-Albert Iweins, argues his clients’ position that the Duchess’ topless photos could not be considered a “breach in privacy” because it cast her and the Prince “in a positive light”.

Royal indignation

It bears no repeating that Prince William - who must be wondering if his wife may be pregnant for the third time around - was very off-put with the pictures due to memories he has of his mother enduring the same situation decades ago.

He and Kate had their lawyer Jean Veil read a declaration at the trial Tuesday on their behalf to cement their opinion that the clandestine photos were an invasion of privacy.

“Closer” itself had been fined back in 2012 for the pictures, and on July 4 the presiding Judge Florence Lasserre-Jeannin will read the verdict on the specific defendants.