A 'furious' Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are considering legal action against a French magazine that has published pictures of Kate topless.
A spokesman for the couple told Mail Online today: 'Their sadness has turned to anger and disbelief as we have learnt more about the photographs. We believe a red line has been crossed and we are consulting the French lawyers to see what, if any, action can be taken.'
Kate and her husband, Prince William, were informed over breakfast of the scandal shortly before they departed to visit a mosque in Kuala Lumpur and have seen copies of the pixellated photographs.
Sources said the Duchess and her husband were 'hurt, shocked, furious and disgusted'.
An angry Prince William and Kate were grim-faced as they left the capital of Malaysia for the next leg of their tour of south east Asia.
Just minutes earlier, in a waiting room at the grand marble-floored VIP section where the couple retired as their plane was prepared, aides had agreed to release a strong statement which was issued as they took off.
'Their Royal Highnesses have been hugely saddened to learn that a French publication and a photographer have invaded their privacy in such a grotesque and totally unjustifiable manner,' it 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.
'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.
'Officials acting on behalf of Their Royal Highnesses are consulting with lawyers to consider what options may be available to The Duke and Duchess.'
It is all the more sensational because France has some of the strictest privacy laws in the world, yet one of the country's own magazines has decided to publish pictures, if genuine, clearly taken in private with a long lens.
St James's Palace was bracing itself after Closer trailed its 'exclusive' on its website with the words: 'World Exclusive; Kate and William in Provence: Oh My God!'
The magazine's website also showed an image of the front cover which pictured the Duchess in a bikini apparently about to remove her top.
William and Kate are midway through a Diamond Jubilee tour of the Far East, which had been going well but is now likely to be overshadowed by the controversy.
The photographs were taken last week while the couple were staying in Provence at a chateau owned by Lord Linley, the Queen's nephew, ahead of their trip.
St James's Palace said the royal couple would not let the controversy distract them./dailymail.co.uk/