Chi published pictures of Kate Middleton's baby bump in this weeks issue (Chi magazine)

The editor of the Italian magazine that published pictures of Kate Middleton with her baby bump has vehemently defended his decision.

Alfonso Signorini printed holiday images of the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge in a blue bikini in Chi, sparking another royal privacy row.

But Signorini said St James's Palace's reaction had been over the top and that the pictures were taken in a public place.

He told Italian website "This seems to me to be an over-the-top reaction. We have published photos shot in a public place on a beach amidst other bathers. There was no invasion of privacy. The English press is much worse."

Signorini said the pictures could not be compared with the way the press hounded Princess Diana.

He told the BBC: "They are images of such unexceptional normality that there is only limited mention of them on the cover of the magazine.

"The photographs, which can in no way be considered scandalous, were bought from an international photo agency. [They] do not harm the image of the protagonists and the reaction of the media seems wholly over the top.

The pictures show the Duchess of Cambridge on holiday in Mustique (Chi)

"Moreover, the photographs can hardly be considered an invasion of privacy when the subjects are public figures in a public place in the open air, specifically on a beach surrounded by other bathers.

"It is also true that the Italian press is not a party to the gentlemen's agreement between the British press and Buckingham Palace.

"What our readers will see is simply a moment of joyful relaxation being enjoyed by a smiling, happy couple. Where's the scandal in that?"

The editor of Australian magazine Woman's Day said it would also publish the pictures.

ITV's This Morning apologised earlier today after presenter Ruth Langsford inadvertently showed uncensored pictures of Kate Middleton's baby bump on TV.

William and Kate are on holiday on the Caribbean island of Mustique.

The Duchess of Cambridge is due to make her next public appearance in the UK on 19 February, when she visits a south London rehab centre for the charity Action on Addiction.