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FRIDAY, 18 APR 2014
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William and Kate in Solomons as topless row rages
Agence France Presse
Britain's William and Kate,  watch a traditional dance at the Cultural Village in Honiara, Solomon Islands, Sept. 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Daniel Munoz, Pool)
Britain's William and Kate, watch a traditional dance at the Cultural Village in Honiara, Solomon Islands, Sept. 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Daniel Munoz, Pool)
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HONIARA: Britain's Prince William and wife Catherine headed to a secluded corner of the Solomon Islands Monday in a war canoe as their lawyers lodge a criminal complaint in France over topless photos of her.

The young couple were again greeted by huge crowds in scenes reminiscent of their reception Sunday as they landed in the capital Honiara as part of their Jubilee tour, which has also taken in Singapore and Malaysia.

William, second in line to the British throne, said he was thrilled by their welcome to the lush Pacific island, putting on a brave face despite the photo row, which has cast a shadow over their trip.

"This land is the most beautiful place imaginable and the people of the Solomon Islands are amongst the most gracious and friendly we have ever met," he said in a speech Sunday evening where he wore a traditional batik shirt.

The remote tropics were a world away from the controversy raging in Europe over topless photographs of Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, which appeared in a French magazine.

They infuriated the couple and rekindled memories of William's mother Princess Diana, who was killed in a Paris car crash in 1997 while being chased by paparazzi.

A St James's Palace spokeswoman said the pair will lodge a criminal complaint in France on Monday over the taking and publication of the images that appeared in the magazine Closer.

The spokeswoman said the couple want criminal charges brought against the photographer who took the photos as well as the magazine which ran them.

The palace also said it would seek an injunction at a court hearing in Paris on Monday to prevent further publication of the pictures before taking civil action for damages.

In a fresh blow, the images, which the palace called a "grotesque" breach of privacy, appeared again, in Saturday's Irish Daily Star.

Italian gossip magazine Chi is planning to devote 26 pages to the grainy paparazzi photographs in a special issue Monday -- a move the palace said would heap "unjustifiable upset" on Catherine.

Putting aside the distraction, William and Catherine were all smiles as they were greeted by Solomons Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo before visiting a cultural village where thousands turned up to watch as rain fell.

The royal pair then parted for a period, William giving a speech at a youth conference in which he said "the Commonwealth is more relevant today than it has ever been" before kicking a football with some local children.

Catherine, in a canary yellow dress, visited a women's group where she was presented with a cake, as the Queen was when she toured the Solomons in 1974.

They met up again for a reception for supporters of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust before a lunch in aid of Solomon Island charities.

The royal duo then boarded a flight to Marau, also in the Solomons, where they were to receive a traditional warrior and chiefs' welcome, before travelling by boat to the island of Marapa.

It is here that a war canoe will take them on to Tavanipupu, an island paradise created by English interior decorator Dennis Bellote in the 1970s, where they will spend the night in a luxury resort far from the spotlight.

The couple move Tuesday to Tuvalu, one of the world's smallest independent nations, lying about halfway between Australia and Hawaii and where they wrap up their nine-day tour marking Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee.

 
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