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Video: Royal family suing over topless photos of Duchess Kate

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    >>> prince william and kate middleton continue their tour of southeast asia , but it is photos that were taken halfway around the world and published in a french magazine that have created an international scandal. nbc's duncan golestani is outside the palace.

    >> reporter: the duke and duchess of cambridge will take legal action against the french tabloid which posted topless pictures of the princess. there has been a furious response, a level of anger rarely seen. kate and william 's tour of southeast asia has provided countless images of the royal couple. but now the most talked about pictures are the ones they can't control. printed across five pages of a french gossip magazine , intimate photos taken on vacation last week in which the duchess can be seen topless.

    >> for me, those pictures are not shocking. just beautiful couple and in love couple.

    >> kate and william disagree. first they were said to be saddened. later that changed to furious. the palace called publication grotesque and totally unjustifiable, saying it's reminiscent of the worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of diana, princess of wales . it was also in france she spent her last days. it is a harsh reminders about the pearls of the paparazzi.

    >> i would think that he would be absolutely furious. absolutely livid. how could he not be? because it will bring everything back to him and what his mother went through. i do not want that to happen to the duchess of cambridge . i saw what it did to diana and it's absolutely hideous.

    >> reporter: "closer" magazine rejects the comparison and insists they weren't trying to hide themselves. no british tabloid plans to use the pictures, unlike the nude photos of prince harry , which made front page news. this morning, kate and william had a tree top adventure to keep them busy. but they know a far greater challenge is waiting for them when they return home. legal experts agree it won't be too difficult to win a court case in france . the problem is already an italian gossip magazine says it too will print the nude pictures . that means they are spreading around the world and there's no stopping them. kate ?

    >> thank you. martin bashir , longtime royal follower. this is really the first time the palace has taken legal action about a photo. why is this so different?

    >> if you put it in its historical context, it's 30 years to the day virtually that a telephone conversation between princess diana and james gilby was reported on in the sun newspaper . it's 20 years since sarah ferguson was photographed having her toes sucked by a texan millionaire. 15 years since princess diana died being chased by paparazzi. on none of those occasions did the royal family take any legal action . this is unprecedented and an indication of how appalled they are.

    >> does it have anything to do with what we saw just last month with prince harry and the partying photos? are they feeling an intrusion, a deeper intrusion than before?

    >> i don't think so. i think this is william , as princess diana 's friend said in the piece, this is william deciding he has to establish some red line . the problem with this is that "closer" magazine is a french magazine and the version that published these images is in france . but it's owned by the italian former prime minister. so the anxiety is that this is going to be a contagion. i think the hope is that by issuing some kind of litigation, it may have the effect of slowing down what will eventually become a wildfire and spread.

    >> this is so personal for prince william , isn't it? i mean, he's spoken before in the past about his mother and how deeply he felt about how her life went.

    >> to be perfectly honest, prince william has been unhappy with the media and the press since he was born. he still harbors the belief that the paparazzi killed his mother. and therefore, this is a terrible echo of the experience of his mother being chased and pursued. the idea that they went to a private residence owned by a relative and assumed that it was miles from anybody else, nobody else was nearby, and they still couldn't have any privacy, to him must be deeply disturbing.

    >> and quickly, kate middleton has had this reputation of never putting a foot wrong. does this tarnish that in any way, topless photos?

    >> i don't think so. i think the issue becomes one of the fact that she has to understand, i guess, that as a member of the royal family , she has no privacy whatsoever.

    >> even on the balcony of your vacation home .

    >> in a private residence owned by a relative. and that's the lesson from this. it was never her fault. it was down to the fact that they made an assumption that they wouldn't be photographed and they were.

    >> always great to have you. thank you so much.

    >> great to see you, kate . thank you.

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