Kate Middleton in Singapore in 2012. (REUTERS/Nicolas Asfouri/Pool)

This one begins with a German tabloid, a Duchess in a summer dress and a bare bum.

On a recent trip to Australia, Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton were ambling toward their helicopter when a gust of wind stirred Middleton’s dress — and an international controversy.

Far away, a curly-haired Australian photographer named Diane Morel had just snapped a picture of Middleton. At the time, she didn’t know what she had. “It wasn’t until I got home,” she told the Sydney Daily Telegraph, “and I popped my camera card into the computer that I realized what I had captured.”

But there it was: Kate Middleton’s behind.

This clearly was a valuable commodity. But what to do with it? British tabloids, which are usually keen to publish just about anything, are famously hesitant to run images that scandalize their royalty. But a German tabloid named Bild had no such reservations.

Hailing Middleton’s tuchas as a “beautiful bum,” it ran the picture of a moment it called “short but magical.”

And this drama was off to the races.

Even the Daily Mail couldn’t believe the horror of it all. “It’s terribly sad for Kate that her pert derriere will now be the image that forever marks any recollection of her and William’s triumphant tour,” the Daily Mail wrote in an editorial, asking Middleton to be a little more decent in public. “How mortifying for any woman to be pictured in such an unedifying way.”

While the royals are pretty serious about being photographed showing skin, they aren’t historically concerned with baring it in the first place. A similar saga emerged last year when a French magazine called Closer ran pictures of a topless Middleton. She had been sunbathing with Prince William. As the Guardian humorlessly put it: “The most intimate [photo] showed the duchess topless and having sun cream rubbed into her buttocks by William.”

The royal couple wasn’t pleased. The magazine was investigated by French authorities for invasion of privacy and ultimately ordered to relinquish all images of the naked Duchess of Cambridge.

This go-round, however, things are a little different — the nudity was captured in the public domain. Bild is refusing to back off its pics — which it ran again yesterday beside images of Kim Kardashian’s rear end — and other outlets have now joined the fray.

Much to the dismay of many Brits, Rupert Murdoch’s Daily Telegraph in Australia just invoked the royal behind in an article telling the British to cool it.

“Over the decades the media have been consistently fairly kind to the royal family — the British media almost universally respectful of the royal decree that the royal family’s privacy should be maintained and their dignity upheld as it is in the best interests of the royal family,” columnist Annette Sharp wrote. “But it seems a bit ridiculous to expect the rest of the world’s media to follow suit, particularly in a world in which flesh and commercialism go hand in hand.”

But don’t tell the royal family that. According to the Daily Star, the duchess is “furious.”

“Kate realizes she has a very public life,” said an anonymous source. “But she does believe she’s entitled to a certain amount of privacy. She doesn’t expect to see her naked [expletive] splashed across a German tabloid. She’s furious. She and Prince William are once again considering their legal options.”

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