Kate Middleton’s Topless Photos Don’t Make Her Any Less Of A Role Model

In what was obviously a private moment at a private home between a private couple, (are we catching the drift here?) Kate Middleton decided to sunbath topless while vacationing in France. She wasn’t doing anything scandalous. She was lying around on a balcony with her husband Prince William. She did put suntan lotion on her husband, which I guess can be considered scandalous when done by cabana boys for married women. Unfortunately, paparazzi in France spied on the royal couple, then sold the pictures to the French magazine Closer.

That’s right, with just a few seconds of Googling, you could see Kate Middleton’s breasts. I’m not going to link to the pictures or the magazine that published them, because I think it’s an incredibly icky invasion of privacy.

The royal family has reportedly said that they are “saddened” by the publication of the photos. If it were me, that would be quite an understatement. But even as a bystander, as just someone who happened to read about the news first thing this morning, I’m a little saddened too.

First of all, invading someone else’s privacy sucks. Stalking a couple when they are trying to spend time alone, a couple who spends an insane about of time in the public eye already, should be illegal in some way. I’ve sunbathed topless before my friends, when I was alone at my parents house and hidden behind a six-foot privacy fence. I can guarantee you that if anyone took pictures of me while I was swimming, I would have felt violated and upset. I cannot imagine what Duchess Catherine is going through right now.

But even more than the creepy photographer hiding in the bushes, I’m saddened that a magazine would choose to publish such pictures. Kate Middleton is a real-life princess in so many little girls’ fantasies. She’s a role model. She’s someone they look up to. And from the way she dresses and behaves herself, I feel like being a role model is probably really important to her.

Now, her reputation is being tarnished and she’s being made to feel embarrassed about what? About taking her top off during a private moment with her husband? Closer is throwing around tacky captions for their five-page spread like, “People always say she doesn’t need to dress up to look good. Well… Kate is proving this,” and ““The last time we saw Kate and William on a balcony it was for their wedding. But they had more clothes on.” They’re comparing her actions to Prince Harry‘s wild time in Vegas playing and losing strip billiards. Kate Middleton wasn’t doing anything scandalous, and yet they’re shaming her just the same.

As a mom, I don’t want my daughter to ever see these photos or know they exist. It has nothing to do with worrying about my daughter seeing someone’s breasts. It’s because I don’t want her to see a woman shamed in the public eye for daring to take her top off when she thought she was sharing a private moment with her husband. I don’t want my daughter to know how quick the world is to exploit and disgrace a woman for any innocent gesture they can manipulate.

Kate Middleton is a role model, and she’ll continue to be a wonderful one. I’m sad to see her go through something like this.

(Photo: waynehowes / Shutterstock.com)

[UPDATE: The royal couple sued the French magazine over the publication of these photos. Click here to find out the verdict.]

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  • Lastango

    I’d like to be sympathetic because I’m so fond of Kate Middleton and all that she does, but sunbathing outdoors topless was stupid beyond belief. Her husband is more at fault; he has enough experience in the public eye to know the reality of the risks.
    Stil, I hope being burned like this doesn’t cramp her wonderful personal style or her happiness.

    • maureen

      How much of the body one can reveal is mandated by culture. Had Kate been in Iran, I agree it would be stupid beyond belief. But she was in France, where I understand women often sunbathe topless, in public beaches and parks. Plus she wasn’t in public, only with her husband. In this case we can’t really blame her.

    • Lastango

      Whether she is in France or not, she is 365-24/7 in Paparazzi Land. It’s stupid to underrate their tenacity, cunning, reach, connections, and unscrupulousness.

  • NotThatRebecca

    I disagree. Don’t hide it from your daughter – you can’t, anyway, not in the long term – and be candid about the hypocrisy of the media, our ridiculous collective views about nudity (a bikini that covers only the nipples is seriously different from topless? absurd) and the desire of some people to tear down anyone who’s prominent. Most of all, use it as a chance to teach her that nobody can define themselves by the opinions of others without going crazy. It’s nice to be thought of as having integrity, but the crucial thing is actually to have integrity – and Kate Middleton’s done nothing to diminish hers, even if French tabs (really, French people?) try to shame her for *gasp* being naked in private with her husband.

  • K.


    For one, they’re just breasts. I don’t really consider Kate a ‘role model,’ myself, but I also don’t think that sunbathing topless precludes her from being one for others.

    But second, to echo Lastango, what the eff was she thinking? Sure, it’s her prerogative and fine, the tabloids are creeps, but she is not a private citizen, she is a public figure–and we can bellyache about the trials and tribulations and how unfair it is that she can’t just wear sweatpants to the store and do three-day benders like the rest of us and have the condition of her uterus scrutinized 24/7, but in the end, she signed up for the circus and has an awful lot of perks to make up for all that. I’m sorry, but it’s hard for me to see the “injustice” in this incident.

    • Andrea

      I didn’t think about that. I guess if I had those kinds of perks that go along with being royalty, I gladly put up with a little invasion of privacy.

    • maureen

      Sure she signed up for the circus but the paparazzi need to have boundaries. Think about what happened to Princess Diana, who was chased by the paps before her death. Being a public figure doesn’t excuse that.

    • K.

      Well, for one, taking pictures of Kate Middleton sunbathing topless on balcony is not
      equal to chasing Diana through the streets of Paris. This was not a life
      or death situation.

      Should the paps have limits? Yes. Is it an
      invasion of privacy? Well, sure. I’m not defending the paparazzi. I’m
      saying that in a world where some photographer is paying for his child’s
      entire college education through the sale of those pictures, it’s a tad
      naive to expect that the paps are going to observe “limits” that are
      not well enforced.

      And my point about Kate is that she can’t and
      shouldn’t have the same expectations of privacy as the rest of us do,
      because she’s a public figure and knew she would be one when she married
      into royalty. Now, is it fair that she can’t sunbathe with her husband
      on a balcony and not have someone taking pictures of her? No, it’s not
      fair. But it is a reality, and one that I presume the Duchess should be
      seasoned enough to understand that by now. I agree this is perhaps
      embarrassing for her, but at the same time, I think that if you’re
      Duchess Catherine and you don’t want your tatas all over the Internet,
      you should probably err on the side of caution. That’s why I think that
      despite the fact that the paps are invasive and despite the fact that it
      was just her and Wills on vacation, it was rather shortsighted on her

    • RoseyQ

      There has to be a line so that she can life her life, not just live her life for the public. yea she has perks and yes she knew what she was getting into, but does she have to cease being herself, stop doing things that she previously did because she is in the public eye now? That would ruin her marriage. There is no middle ground for her.

  • Lawcat

    I really don’t think this is all that scandalous nor are they shaming her. It’s more perverse than anything. Sunbathing topless is no big deal, especially in France.

  • Lo

    The way I normally see this article is, “Topless photos taken, invasion of personal life, terrible paparazzi culture blah blah” followed by *the photos themselves.* Thanks for talking about the issue without spreading the photos around.

  • sambec

    Perhaps if they were having sex outside, I’d raise an eyebrow at their lack of tact. But she thought she was alone! It’s so creepy that magazines are buying these pictures. This is just as bad as the honeymoon pictures.

  • Neil alan

    Lets see she got outside topless and gets her picture taken. Then rather than ignoring it and then interest would die down they make a gigantic response and keeps it in the news for a long time. She is not so specially endowed and interest would have moved on without making such a big news story out of it by the royal family. The royal family does not understand the public and how short the interest would been had they not made an international event out of it. It is heir fault that il remains such a big story.

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  • Mia

    I wonder if she chooses to have a child and then chooses to breastfeed will it be the same level of SHOCKHORRORBREASTS that we’re seeing now if there’s a hint of boob on display? Maybe she should always be thinking the media could be looking
    despite it being in where she thought was private, but chances are with a thought like that you wouldn’t be able to even take a shit in a public loo.

    I also wonder if it had been ‘accidental bikini slippage’ would it have had the same reaction?

  • F.hersh

    Sometimes if you are in the public rye you need discretion.Her husband should know that.It is her personal business to do as she pleases,that is her right but some things just don’t pay to do.Better safe than sorry.Lie inside you house naked if you are a princess,not outside on a balcony where you know the cruel,miserable tabloids are watching.You are not an everyday person,so sometimes you can’t act like one.Not great always being a princess.

  • kathleen

    I never considered her a role model anyway, since I am encouraging my daughters to do anything except marry public figures. Besides, princesses figure pretty low on their respective radars. Sounds antiquated.

    And ‘sunbath’ is a noun. You make it a verb when you add an ‘e’ to the end, as with ‘bath’ and ‘bathe,’ and ‘breath’ and ‘breathe.’ This grammar lesson is brought to you by the letter P.

    • kathleen

      P — for pompous and also pretentious (I know I sound that way when I correct grammar issues). But I am easily irked by word misuse and misspellings.

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