One might think that, after the nude picture scandal that has rocked Prince Harry's summer, bringing him everything from inflamed criticism to naked salutes of admiration, no one in the royal family would ever ever remove an article of clothing again. Ever. We're sure Queen Elizabeth has that down. But now it seems that Kate Middleton, 30, can't be trusted to keep her clothing on when lying out in the sun and accompanied by her prince of a husband, William.

Photographers snapped a few well-timed shots of Kate removing her bikini top while she sunbathed with William at a remote chateau in Provence, France that is owned by Lord Linley, a nephew of Queen Elizabeth. Shots of a topless Kate applying sunscreen to William's back were also snapped.

Shortly after the pics were released on the cover of the French gossip magazine, Closer (above), the royal family addressed the matter in a statement, saying they were "saddened" by the "grotesque" violation of privacy, reports Newsday.

"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," a St. James' Palace official said. "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."

St. James Palace also revealed that "legal proceedings for breach of privacy have been commenced today in France" by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. British magazines and papers are not going to be publishing the photos.

Neil Wallis, the former executive editor of the U.K.'s now defunct News of the World who was arrested last year over the Rupert Murdoch phone hacking scandal that took down the paper, explained that the pics are inappropriate for publication by the media because they violate the British Press Complaints Commission rules on privacy. The naked photos of Prince Harry in Las Vegas from last month, however, reportedly do not, in Wallis' opinion, as they raised questions about the judgment calls of the third in line to the throne and the details of his security arrangements.

The magazine itself, however, defends its decision to publish on the grounds that the photos are intended to be beautiful, not shocking, reports E! Online.

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For more on Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and related stories:

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