An Italian gossip magazine owned by former Premier Silvio Berlusconi published a 26-page spread of topless photos of Prince William's wife Kate on Monday despite legal action in France against the French magazine that published them first.

Chi hit newsstands on Monday, featuring a montage of photos taken while the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were on vacation at a relative's home in the south of France last month. They included the 14 pictures published by the popular French magazine Closer, which like Chi is owned by Berlusconi's Mondadori publishing house.

But the Chi spread ran the whole sequence of photos as the couple sunbathed on a terrace, including one shot of the princess putting sun cream on her backside that didn't appear in Closer.

The couple is hitting back hard against the publication of the images, which William's St. James's Palace called a "grotesque" invasion of their privacy.

Later Monday, lawyers for the royal couple are due in court in Nanterre, France, to seek an injunction against Mondadori to prevent further dissemination of the images, which were also reproduced over the weekend by an Irish tabloid. The palace said it would seek damages from Mondadori.

And St. James's Palace said Sunday that family lawyers would file a criminal complaint against the unidentified photographer or photographers involved. The palace said it would be up to French prosecutors to decide whether to investigate and pursue a criminal case for breach of privacy or trespassing.

Chi editor Alfonso Signorini told The Associated Press over the weekend that he didn't fear legal action since the photos were already in the public domain following Closer's publication.

French court decides Tuesday on royal photo demand

A French court says it will decide on Tuesday whether to order an injunction halting further publication of topless photos of Prince William's wife Kate.

The royal request was made after a popular French gossip magazine printed 14 pictures of the partially-clad Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, in its pages last week.

The decision came after an hour of arguments by lawyers for the royal couple and Mondadori, the Italian publishing house that owns Closer, the French magazine.

The British royals were seeking damage control. An Italian gossip magazine also in the Mondadori stable published a 26-page spread of photos of Kate without her swimsuit top and an Irish tabloid published more Kate topless photos over the weekend.

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