The topless photos of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge and wife of Prince William, arrived just when Americans needed a break from post-convention politics.
We’re 50 days away from the November election and a respite from Mitt Romney and Barack Obama seemed far from happening. But the royal family always has a way of distracting from real life and what’s really important in the world. That’s especially true if nudity is involved.
Last month, bad boy Prince Harry showed his royal jewels on a trip to Las Vegas, and women swooned. Now it’s prim and proper Kate who is under fire but for entirely different reasons than her brother-in-law.
Paparazzi caught Kate sunbathing topless at a private villa in southern France where she was vacationing with William. The photos were shot with a powerful zoom lens and are clearly a violation of privacy. Kate and William think so, too. After French magazine Closer published the photos, the couple took legal action against the magazine, seeking an injunction to force the magazine to “withdraw all copies from sale and remove them from its website.”
The magazine is owned by former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi. One of his Italian publications also plans to publish the photos. An Irish newspaper that published the pictures has been threatened with closure by its owner after editors failed to tell him about their intentions to publish them.
The couple is, of course, justified in seeking legal action for invasion of privacy. After all, William’s mother, the late Princess Diana, was hounded literally to death by the paparazzi, and William has never hid his disdain for them or their intrusive behavior.
But sometimes you just have to shake your head at the strangeness that is Kate’s life, which is so vastly different from almost every woman on the planet other than, perhaps, her mother-in-law Queen Elizabeth’s.
On Monday, the couple arrived on the Soloman Islands, part of their Asian Diamond Jubilee tour. The Soloman Islands, for the geographically challenged, consist of 1,000 islands east of Papua New Guinea in the Oceania sovereign state and under British monarchy.
The smiling couple landed on an airstrip in a private jet and was greeted by — truth is always stranger than fiction — topless native women who presented the royals with garlands. Pictures show Kate laughing and covering her face. Oh, the irony.
Kate and William are reportedly having a second honeymoon and staying in a $1,260-a-night bungalow with a private beach on one of the islands. They arrived on the island of Marapa by boat, watched women perform a shark ceremony and also rode in a traditional war canoe. It was a traditional welcome made for a (future) Queen — topless or not.
In Europe, women sunbathing topless is the norm just as it is for Soloman Islands women. The publication of the pictures of Kate, a modern woman who fell in love with the world's most famous prince, opting to get some Vitamin D the European way seems a pathetic way to sell papers.
The controversial pictures, which have not been published in Britain because of privacy laws, are generating a tsunami of copy for the British newspapers. In turn, here we are in America, fascinated, too, by the wife of William, who seldom says a word publicly and always has rosy cheeks.
Prior to the topless photographs, fashionistas cared — and still do, however shallow that is — about what designer was covering Kate’s royal breasts. Maybe we should stick to that.
Suzi Parker, a confessed anglophile, is an Arkansas-based political and cultural journalist and author of “Sex in the South: Unbuckling the Bible Belt.” Follow her on Twitter at @SuziParker