Kate Middleton Topless: Attention Turns to Who Took the Photos

VIDEO: Investigation underway for photographer behind photos of the Duchess.PlayABCNEWS.com
WATCH Kate Middleton Topless Photos: Who's Responsible?

A freelance photographer claims that he knows the identity of the photographer who snapped the topless photos of Kate Middleton sunbathing while on vacation with her husband, Prince William, at a secluded, private French chateau owned by Queen Elizabeth's nephew.

French celebrity photographer Pascal Rostain told the BBC Radio, "The only thing I can tell you is that he's from south of Dublin and he had red hair, but of course I will never, never, never say his name."

Yet Rostain told France Metro newspaper on Friday that the photographer was an Englishman living in the south of France working for Closer, the French gossip magazine that last Friday was the first to publish the topless photos. Four additional publications, in Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and Italy, have since published the photos of Middleton, 30.

"These photos were taken on the orders of Closer, who asked him to sit around for several days to take them," Rostain told the newspaper.

READ MORE: Royal Family Will Seek Injunction Over Kate Middleton Topless Photos

The unauthorized photos of Middleton, taken while she and William vacationed prior to their just-concluded tour of Asia to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, were most recently reportedly published in a 16-page spread in the celebrity magazine Se & Hoer, in Denmark on Thursday.

Kim Henningsen, chief editor of Se & Hoer, said the magazine chose the 60 to 70 photos from 240 pictures it was offered. He declined to say from whom his weekly purchased the photos or how much money it paid, according to The Associated Press.

PHOTOS: The Life and Times of Kate Middleton

Whoever the photographer is, he or she is being referred to as "Le Rat" by the London tabloids and could face a hefty $60,000 fine and one year in prison under French law.

Police in France, at the request of the royal family, have opened a criminal investigation into whether the photos were an invasion of privacy. The royal family is also now pushing for a criminal trial against the photographer or photographers.

On Tuesday, the royal family scored a legal victory when a French court ordered Closer to turn over all digital copies of the photos.

The magazine was ordered to turn in all copies by Wednesday of this week and to not publish the photos further. The court also warned the magazine would face a $12,000 fine each time it defies the ruling.

The court's decision only affects Closer in France and not the other publications that have published the topless photos. Despite the injunction, there is nothing the royal family can do about the photos appearing online or outside of France.

There has been no word yet if Closer has complied with the ruling. ABC News' Jeffrey Kofman went to the Paris offices of Closer on Thursday to speak to the magazine's editor, Laurence Pieau, but was denied an interview.

Pieau had earlier dismissed the controversy as overly dramatic in comments made on French television.

"She's a young woman who is topless just like the ones that can be seen on all the beaches of France and the world. These are pictures that are full of joy. The pictures are not degrading," Pieau French told news channel BFMTV, according to the UK's The Telegraph.

The Italian magazine, Chi, that published a 26-page photo spread of the topless photos under the headline "Court Scandal: The Queen is Nude" included at least one shot of the duchess applying sunscreen to herself that did not appear in previous publications.

Chi, like Closer, is published under the Mondadori publishing house owned by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Chi is also the same magazine that, in 1997, published photos of Prince William's mother, Princess Diana, dying in a tunnel in Paris after a high-speed car chase with paparazzi that ended in her death at age 36.

The royal family has evoked the memory of Princess Diana in seeking to block the photos and pushing for criminal charges.

"The incident is reminiscent of the worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, and all the more upsetting to The Duke and Duchess for being so," the palace said in a statement last Friday.

The editor of Chi stood behind his decision to publish the photos, telling The Associated Press that he did not fear legal action and writing on Twitter that "not even a direct call from the Queen" could stop him from publishing the photos.

Likewise, the editor of the Swedish publication denied that the photos are an invasion of privacy for the couple. "It is nothing new to us to publish nude photos of celebrities on holiday," said Carina Lofkvist, the chief editor of the Swedish magazine, told the AP. "No one complains when they do and we print the photos."

Since the court ruling, the royal family has issued only a simple statement on the topic, in support of the court's decision.

"The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcome the judge's ruling," a representative for St. James's Palace said Tuesday.

The scandal broke while the couple were in Malaysia for the Diamond Jubilee tour, but Middleton and William remained mum on the photos while letting their lawyers do their talking. They departed from Tuvalu Wednesday on a commercial flight bound for home in the U.K.

Meanwhile in London, actor John Travolta, who has had his own issues with privacy, said he sympathizes with the royals and supports stronger laws to shield celebrities.

"This is the worst time to be famous," Travolta told the BBC.

ABC News' Anthony Castellano, Alyssa Newcomb and The Associated Press contributed to this report.