Versailles - French glossy magazine Closer will not be able to reprint topless pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge after losing a court appeal on Wednesday.
The magazine had gone to court seeking to overturn an injunction issued on 18 September last year which banned Closer's publisher, the Mondadori Group, from reproducing the grainy images and from selling them on.
The injunction came four days after the intimate pictures were published in Closer and was also too late to prevent them being reprinted by Italy's Chi magazine and publications in Denmark, Ireland and Sweden.
But it did ensure that the original digital files were handed over to the royal couple and prevented further reproduction in France and elsewhere.
A criminal probe
Closer was not immediately available for a reaction on Wednesday's ruling, and the royals' lawyer Aurelien Hamelle refused to comment.
The ruling clears the way for French authorities to continue a criminal probe into how the pictures were obtained while the couple were holidaying at a private chateau in the south of France.
It emerged in April that Ernesto Mauri, the chief executive of Mondadori, and a French photographer, had been charged with breaching France's strict privacy laws.
The photographer, Valerie Suau of local newspaper La Provence, was charged in connection with pictures of the Duchess in her bikini that her newspaper published on 7 September.
The identity of the photographer or photographers who took the pictures published by Closer has not been established.