THE ROYAL family has issued a new statement expressing “upset” at the “grotesque” publication of topless photos of Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, which have been published by French magazine Closer, comparing the affair to the treatment of Diana, Princess of Wales.

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“Their Royal Highnesses have been hugely saddened to learn that a French publication and a photographer have invaded their privacy in such a grotesque and totally unjustifiable manner,” reads the statement.

“The incident is reminiscent of the worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, and all the more upsetting to The Duke and Duchess for being so.

“Their Royal Highnesses had every expectation of privacy in the remote house. It is unthinkable that anyone should take such photographs, let alone publish them.”

Royal officials are now discussing whether to take any legal action against the magazine and photographer.

The statement continued: “Officials acting on behalf of Their Royal Highnesses are consulting with lawyers to consider what options may be available to The Duke and Duchess.”

Legal experts say that Closer has fallen foul of French privacy laws, which state that, “fixing, recording or transmitting the image of a person in a private place without their consent” is out of bounds.

In recent years fines for breaking privacy laws have fallen and the maximum penalty currently stands at euro45,000, or about £36,000.