Can You Imagine the Queen Going Topless?
No man would be comfortable with his wifes naked breasts
being plastered across the news stands and the internet. Well, not
unless hes married to a Page 3 girl.
So Prince Williams furious reaction to the publication of
paparazzo pictures of Kate topless in French, Irish and Italian
newspapers and magazines is entirely understandable.
The British Press has rightly taken the view that the princess
had a reasonable expectation of privacy when she was sunbathing
beside a pool at Lord Linleys chateau in the South of France.
Even if any editor did ponder the wisdom of bringing the photographs
to a British audience, the prospect of a Leveson-inspired lynch
mob would quickly concentrate the mind.
Opportunist politicians would seize on the offending pictures to
impose statutory and wide-ranging restrictions on the Press in this
Commercial considerations will also have played a part in the calculations
as even papers which feature acres of female flesh daily have shied
away from the prospect of a Twitter-generated boycott.
In this case, self-regulation has been tested and proven effective.
But as the snapshots are also readily available to anyone with access
to the internet, it has highlighted the futility of trying to control
one traditional section of the media while the World Wide Web remains
a lawless frontier town.
My guess is that many of those tut-tutting into their morning newspapers
have already sought out the pictures on their laptops purely
in the interests of research, of course.
Theres something faintly ridiculous about the fit of morality
which has greeted the publication of these photographs.
More to the point, the decision of Prince William to seek criminal
charges against the snapper responsible is sinister in the extreme.
Not that Im defending the excesses of the predatory paparazzi,
who pursue their prey like packs of wild dogs. Their behaviour plays
into the hands of those self-interested politicians and police chiefs
who are gagging to introduce draconian controls on a free press.
Any sympathy I may have had for William went out of the window
when he resorted to the criminal law. Attempting to put professional
photographers in prison for taking pictures of a woman whose job
is to have her photo taken is outrageous.
It doesnt matter how inconvenient or intrusive those photos
may have been. They were taken with a long-distance lens from a
Part of me rather admires the French and Italian editors for sticking
to their guns, refusing to apologise and wondering what all the
fuss is about.
Unlike some sections of the Press and public in this country, they
are not in thrall to the notion of a fairytale monarchy. One of
the less appetising aspects of this Jubilee year in Britain has
been the re-emergence of forelock tugging.
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