Berlusconi’s fingerprints on Kate Middleton’s topless photos

The fingerprints of disgraced former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi are all over a French tabloid magazine’s attack on the British royal family by publishing topless photos of the former Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.

Berlusconi, buried in a series of sexual scandals involving young teenage girls, owns the French weekly Closer magazine, which today published a series of long lens paparazzi snaps of the Duchess adjusting her bikini top while applying sunscreen lotion at a secluded chateau owned by Prince William’s cousin, Viscount Linley, in Provence.

Buckingham Palace is outraged at the privacy intrusion and the royals have indicated they are preparing to sue Closer under French privacy laws.

Kate, meanwhile, has put on a brave face during her Asian tour with William.

Closer magazine’s UK operation, meanwhile, is distancing itself from the scandal. Bauer Media claims it had no knowledge of Closer France’s decision to publish the topless photos, and deplores the decision. The French edition of Closer is licensed to Mondadori, an Italian publishing firm owned by Silvio Berlusconi.

Late today, Berlusconi’s tabloid’s upped the ante, with an announcement by his Italian magazine Chi that it plans to publish a 26 page spread on the half-naked Kate on Monday.