Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, smiles as she attends the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards 2012 in London, Sunday Dec. 16, 2012.
(USA TODAY) Another paparazzi photo-grab of pregnant Duchess Kate - in a bikini and showing barely a baby bump - is roiling the British royals and their fans in the London media today.
"Fresh agony over new bikini snaps of pregnant Duchess of Cambridge on holiday," blared the headline in the tabloid Mirror about the "babymoon" photos.
The paparazzi shots of Prince William and the duchess, who took a winter break with her family on a private island in the Caribbean, were published in Chi, an Italian gossip magazine, according to BuzzFeed, HollywoodLife.com and other media in the USA and the U.K.
The photos show her in a bikini and just the slightest swell of her pregnancy, now about four months along. The couple are strolling in the surf on a beach on Mustique, the island long favored by royals and rock stars seeking respite from the media glare. It's not clear whether the photographer was on the island, which is famed for its top security, or in a boat off the island.
"We are disappointed that photographs of the Duke and Duchess (of Cambridge) on a private holiday look likely to be published overseas," said an unnamed palace press spokesman. "This is a clear breach of the couple's right to privacy."
So far, none of the usual British outlets for such photos have published them or announced that they will publish them. Still, the rest of the European gossip media do not generally pay attention to the palace press handlers.
Chi is the magazine that last year published 26 pages of topless photos of the duchess, 31, captured by a paparazzo while the couple stayed at a cousin's villa in the south of France. The magazine is part of former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi's media empire.
The palace described that intrusion as "grotesque" and, furious, the couple went to court in France. They succeeded in halting further publication of the topless snaps there, but were unable to prevent them from turning up in other European magazines and newspapers and on the Internet.
This latest photo flap will not be any more welcome but it can't be a surprise that the paparazzi have been stalking and will continue to stalk Will and Kate: One estimate of the "babymoon" snap put the price tag at about $400,000 for publication, depending on the competition in the bidding.
Maria Puente, USA TODAY