Kate Middleton Topless Photos to be Published by Berlusconi-Owned Magazine

An Italian gossip magazine, Chi, owned by former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi has said Saturday that it plans to publish photos of Kate Middleton sunbathing topless.

Chi is part of Fininvest, Berlusconi's holding company, which also owns the French magazine Closer that first published the controversial photos. The French magazine was immediately slapped with a lawsuit by the royal couple.

The Italian magazine has now said it is planning to publish a 26-page special with the photos, with a cover teaser headline saying, "The Queen is Nude."

The editor of the magazine, Alfonso Signorini, has said he didn't fear legal action because the photos were already published by Closer and it is already in the public domain, according to The Associated Press.

Signorini also said it shows the daily life of the famous couple in a completely natural way, and that he respects Kate's dignity, believing there isn't anything damaging in them, despite them be taken of her on a private property, and despite the Royal Family's clear fury over the photos.

"Chi pays attention to respecting people's dignity. I don't think they hurt Kate's image," Signorini has said.

On Saturday, another publication, The Irish Daily Star, ran the topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge in its Republic of Ireland edition.

Its editor, Mike O`Kane, justified that he printed the photos as a "service to our readers," according to BBC News.

"She's married into the royal family, she's one of the most photographed people in the world, and she decides to partially disrobe on a balcony where it can be seen from a public road and she's stunned now, or the Palace are annoyed that people are interested in this," he said.

A St James' Palace spokeswoman has responded to the reports that the Irish Daily Star had published the topless photos, saying, "There could be no motivation for this action other than greed."

According to the spokeswoman, the palace is also reviewing "all proportionate responses" to Chi's planned publication.

The royal officials have called the photos a "grotesque" abuse of privacy.

A representative for Middleton and husband Prince William has said further publication of the pictures would only upset the royals further. He described them as simple a couple "who were enjoying time alone together in the privacy of a relative's home."