Kate Middleton and Prince William faced fresh anguish over privacy today after Italian and Australian magazines published photographs of the pregnant duchess in a bikini and more publications round the world lined up to do the same.
Palace sources condemned the “violating” pictures, which show the couple walking along a beach while holidaying on the secluded Caribbean island of Mustique.
Chi magazine, which caused outrage when it published a photograph of Princess Diana as she lay dying, splashed pictures of Kate Middleton and her growing baby bump across its front page.
Australian magazine Woman’s Day has also printed the pictures, as well as photographs of Kate Middleton’s sister Pippa in a bikini, claiming they were taken by a member of the public on a public beach.
Editor Fiona Connolly said the royal couple are not a ‘protected species’ outside Britain adding: “This is not a hard decision. Kate’s on a public beach, there are other holiday-makers there and she looks fabulous.”
However, Mustique is a private island and there is an expectation of privacy for anyone holidaying there because the paparazzi is banned.
Kate Middleton, who is about four months pregnant, is wearing a bright blue halter-neck bikini with her slightly rounded stomach clearly visible.
Her arm is draped over her husband’s shoulders while Prince William, who is wearing blue baggy shorts and sunglasses, has an arm protectively around his wife’s back.
The headline on the front of Chi magazine, which goes on sale today, reads: “Kate and William – honeymoon for three.”
Woman’s Day editor Fiona Connolly said she had no qualms about running the pictures, insisting they were taken by a fellow tourist on Mustique – and not a paparazzo.
They have published a poster today showing pictures of Kate Middleton to promote their next edition, which is out on Monday.
“She is on a public beach and she was mingling with holiday makers,” she said.
“There is no photographer hiding in the bushes and she is not inside a private villa,” said Fiona Connolly.
St James’s Palace has angrily hit out at the impending publication of the photos in Europe as “a clear breach of the couple’s privacy”.
But Fiona Connolly said Australians did not view the royal family as a “protected species” like the British.
“The British have a great deal more sensitivity to royals than we do here in Oz,” she said.
“As Australians, we see this every day. We see pregnant women in bikinis on the beach – and a public one at that – so we are a lot less sensitive here.
“Our readers are going to love these photos. I don’t expect any backlash at all really. I think she’s looking fabulous and healthy and (with) a beautiful bump, like we haven’t seen her before.”