Ever since topless pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge on holiday surfaced, authorities have been anxious to seek out the photographer who sparked the furore.
Now, French police claim to have identified the person who snapped Kate as she sunned herself by Prince William's side in Provence.
"A name has been offered," a source close to the investigation said in a statement. "The photographer is expected to be held for questioned imminently." If found guilty, the perpetrator faces a £36,000 fine and up to a year in jail.
Despite putting their best foot forward since the pictures emerged, William and Kate are pursing the case behind closed doors and are determined to bring all responsible parties to justice.
During their recent Jubilee tour of the South Seas, the royal couple learned that French magazine Closer planned to publish revealing photos of the pair at a chateau belonging to the Queen's nephew Viscount Linley.
They described the images – which showed Kate taking off her bikini top by the swimming pool while in conversation with her husband – as a "brutal display" of their private lives. Royal aides swiftly released a strongly-worded statement on behalf of their "furious" employers.
"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 missive said.
"Their Royal Highnesses had every expectation of privacy in the remote house. It is unthinkable that anyone should take such photographs, let alone publish them."
A French court subsequently ruled in favour of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge after they took legal action over the invasion of their privacy. Closer magazine was ordered to stop distribution or syndication of the photos in France or face a €10,000 fine for every breach of the injunction.
Despite Closer being restricted by the courts, the problem William and Kate continued to face was the unknown photographer who had been hired by the publication.
French police confirmed they had raided the office of the magazine in a bid to find evidence that would uncover the identity of the snapper. However, media experts questioned the legality of the raid because under French law journalistic sources are strictly protected.
As the case continues, former agency photographer Valerie Suau has admitted taking pictures of the royal couple on their French terrace. However, she denies being the paparazzo who took the topless images.
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