Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, was last seen being borne through the streets of Honiara, capital of the Solomon Islands, in a vehicle decked out to look like a ceremonial canoe. Sweet scene, pure Gauguin. Now, that would have been a time to get the baps out ... the native queen-to-be, moving among her people, like Venus arising from the waves ...

Instead, the royal family is fighting desperately to stop the spread of a set of photos showing the Duchess sunbathing topless on the balcony of a French chateau. Published in the French magazine Closer, the photos were taken from a fair distance away, with a long lens.