The name of the paparazzo who allegedly captured the incendiary topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge has been given to investigating authorities.
French prosecutors were tipped off with the identity of the freelancer, who, if found to be responsible for the images, may face up to a year in prison and a €60,000 ($74,900) fine after Prince William launched a criminal complaint in September.
The couple were said to be devastated when photos of Catherine, 30, wearing only bikini bottoms emerged in French gossip magazine, Closer.
They had been holidaying in Provence, where they stayed at Chateau d'Autet, the holiday home of Lord Linley, the Queen’s nephew.
The freelancer is believed to have taken 200 photos of the royal using a telephoto lens. The magazine's highly-criticised decision to run the semi-nude shots created a media frenzy while the Duke and Duchess were on tour of the Far East and South Pacific.
Closer had admitted that it hired a freelance photographer to watch the chateau but had been withholding his name under local protection of journalistic sources laws.
Public prosecutor Marie-Christine Daubigney yesterday confirmed that police have the photographer's name and said: “This new information regarding the photographer will be passed on to investigating magistrates.”
A royal source told the Mirror that the couple "are determined to bring the person who took those photos to justice and they’re pushing hard for a custodial sentence. They want to make an example of this person."
At the time, Closer editor, Laurence Pieau, defended the Marina Berlusconi-owned title's decision to run the snaps: "What we saw in the pictures was a young couple who are just married, who are in love, who are beautiful, she is the princess of the 21st century. She’s a young woman who’s topless, just like the ones who can be seen on all of the beaches of France and the world. These pictures are full of joy, not degrading.”