Five years after Kate Middleton’s topless photo scandal, her husband, Prince William is speaking out about the “shocking and painful” ordeal.
According to the BBC, six people are now on trial for invasion of privacy and complicity over the snapshots, which were taken while Kate was vacationing with William in Provence, France in 2012.
William, 34, and Kate, 35, are now reportedly seeking $1.9 million in damages and a “very significant fine” to be imposed because of the images’ publication.
In a prepared statement read by lawyer Jean Veil, William said the candid photos of Kate were “all the more painful” because of the “harassment” he believes led to his mother Princess Diana’s death in a 1997 car crash.
“The clandestine way in which these photographs were taken was particularly shocking to us as it breached our privacy,” the father-of-two’s message read.
“My wife and I thought that we could go to France for a few days in a secluded villa owned by a member of my family, and thus enjoy our privacy,” he added. Immediately following the scandal, a St. James’s Palace spokesperson called the media’s decision to publish the topless pictures of Kate “grotesque.”
“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,” the rep said.
The media outlet who previously published the photos of Kate has argued the royal couple have always been the subject of excessive public attention, the topless pictures did not cast the Duchess in a bad light, and the images were not taken under a breach of privacy.
Neither Kate nor William are set to appear in court during this ongoing trial. A verdict is expected to be made by a judge this upcoming July.