An Australian women's magazine Wednesday defended its decision to publish pictures of a bikini-clad Duchess of Cambridge which show her baby bump, saying they were a "beautiful" set of images.
Woman's Day is set to run shots of Prince William's wife Catherine taken while the royal couple were holidaying on the Caribbean island of Mustique in their next edition out Monday.
The Australian magazine is following Italian publication Chi, which also decided to print the photos of the private holiday, drawing criticism from St. James's Palace that their publication was a breach of privacy.
Woman's Day editor Fiona Connolly said she was sensitive to the sort of pictures that shouldn't be published.
"In this instance they are a beautiful set of photos," Connolly told Australian Associated Press.
She said the photos show the Duchess looking happy and much recovered from the extreme morning sickness she experienced earlier in her pregnancy.
Connolly said they were different to the paparazzi pictures of Kate sunbathing in bikini bottoms on the balcony of a chateau in the South of France, published by French magazine Closer last year and over which Britain's royal family has launched legal action.
"It wasn't a hard decision to run these photos," the Women's Day editor told Sydney's Daily Telegraph, adding they were not taken by a paparazzi photographer but a fellow holiday-maker.
"She is on a public beach and she was mingling with holiday-makers. It's a very different situation to the nude photos, there is no photographer hiding in the bushes and she is not inside a private villa."
Connolly, who claimed there was "furious" bidding between her competitors for the photos in Australia, said while the British press may hold off on publishing the images, they would be picked up around the world.
"The British have a great deal more sensitivity to royals than we do here in Oz," she said.
News that the royal couple are expecting their first child in July emerged in December when Kate was admitted to hospital with severe morning sickness.
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