US-based tabloid, Star magazine, has joined the likes of at least three foreign owned tabloids in publishing invasive photos of the Duchess of Cambridge's bare baby bump.
The latest issue of Star magazine, which hit news stands on Feb. 13, ran a four-page spread revealing new snapshots of Middleton in a two piece bathing suit. The Duchess, who is 16 weeks along in her pregnancy, is seen strolling on a beach on the private Caribbean island of Mustique with her husband Prince William.
"We are disappointed that photographs of the Duke and Duchess on a private holiday look likely to be published overseas," a St James' Palace spokesman said in a statement obtained by The Sun UK. "This is a clear breach of the couple's right to privacy."
The photos were first published on Tuesday by Italian tabloid magazine CHI, which is renowned for publishing invasive photos of Britain's Royal family.
In September CHI ran a series of semi-nude photographs of Middleton, 31, despite receiving widespread backlash. Topless and bottomless photos of Middleton were first published by France's Closer magazine, although the royal couple won an injunction just days later blocking the magazine from further publication after taking legal action.
Editors at CHI reportedly paid in excess of $46,000 for the new pregnant bikini pictures, although it is unclear how much Star magazine paid. Star is just the latest tabloid to publish the invasive photos, and it is believed that so far at least three others tabloids in Australia, France and Germany are preparing to follow suit.
Critics flocked to social networking site Twitter offering mixed reactions to Middleton's latest photo scandal.
"Pregnant woman in a bikini? No one cares! Seen this type of think a million times before, get over it #Middleton," Grover tweeted.
"Unbelievable how insensitive the paps can be! Kate is not just anyone, she's a royal! Where is the respect? Shame on you," Anita. K tweeted.
"What's the problem? Middleton's not exactly topless again or nude, give it a rest. #waytoouptight," Clare tweeted.