Officials at St. James's Palace lashed out at Chi magazine on Tuesday after learning that it planned to publish photos showing the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge in a bikini while vacationing in the Caribbean.
Calling the move a "clear breach of the couple's right to privacy," the palace slammed the Italian magazine for banking on the publicity of Duchess Kate's previously unseen baby bump.
But the magazine went on sale as scheduled on Wednesday, and photos of the duchess walking with her husband, Prince William, on the beach on the island of Mustique were included in the cover montage.
The cover comes less than a year after the royal couple sued the French magazine Closer (part of the same media group as Chi) for publishing topless photos of Duchess Kate, shot in the South of France.
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And though a court found in favor of the royal couple in that lawsuit, Chi editor Alfonso Signorini is defending his decision to run the images.
According to the International Business Times, Signorini told the Italian website Corriere, "This seems to me to be an over-the-top reaction. We have published photos shot in a public place on a beach amidst other bathers. There was no invasion of privacy. The English press is much worse."
He also spoke to the BBC, insisting that the pictures are "of such unexceptional normality that there is only limited mention of them on the cover of the magazine.
"The photographs, which can in no way be considered scandalous, were bought from an international photo agency. [They] do not harm the image of the protagonists and the reaction of the media seems wholly over the top," he continued.
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"It is also true that the Italian press is not a party to the gentlemen's agreement between the British press and Buckingham Palace.
"What our readers will see is simply a moment of joyful relaxation being enjoyed by a smiling, happy couple. Where's the scandal in that?"
Meanwhile, editors at the Australian magazine Woman's Day have announced plans to publish the photos.
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British talk show "This Morning" has apologized to the palace after accidentally flashing the magazine's photos on the screen during a recent segment.