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War canoe ride for William, Kate as topless row rages
HONIARA - Britain’s Prince William and wife Catherine will take a war canoe ride to a secluded corner of the Solomon Islands Monday as their lawyers lodge a criminal complaint in France over a topless photos row.
The charismatic royal couple were greeted by huge crowds as they landed in the capital Honiara on the lush Pacific island Sunday as part of their Jubilee tour, which has already taken them to Singapore and Malaysia.
William, second in line to the British throne, said he was thrilled by the reception in an address to guests at a traditional island feast where he and his wife wore traditional batik prints.
“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 at a dinner Sunday evening.
The remote tropics must seem a world away from the controversy raging 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 couple will lodge a criminal complaint in France on Monday over the taking and publication of the images that appeared in the publication 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 to the royal couple 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 on Monday — a move the palace said would heap “unjustifiable upset” on Catherine.
Putting aside the distraction, a relaxed William and Catherine Monday were greeted by Solomons Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo before visiting a cultural village where they inspected traditional huts and listened to a choir.
The pair were then to part for a period, William giving a speech at a Commonwealth youth conference while Catherine visits a women’s group where she will be presented with a cake, as the Queen was when she visited in 1974.
They will meet 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 board a flight to Marau, where they will receive a traditional warrior and chiefs’ welcome before travelling by boat to the island of Marapa.
It is here that a war canoe takes them on to Tavanipupu where they will spend the night in a remote resort surrounded by a vast blue lagoon, an island paradise created by English interior decorator Dennis Bellote in the 1970s.
The couple move Tuesday to tiny Tuvalu, one of the world’s smallest independent nations, lying about halfway between Australia and Hawaii where they wrap up their nine-day tour marking Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee. - AFP