Duchess of Cambridge
Catherine, Britain's Duchess of Cambridge, meets Malaysia's Queen Sultanah Tuanku Haminah binti Hamidun at the Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur. Reuters

The French magazine Closer, which is at the centre of a controversy over the publication of topless photos of Kate Middleton, has claimed that it has "more intimate" pictures of the duke and duchess.

"I won't hide the fact that there are more intimate pictures that exist, that we haven't published, and will not publish," said Laurence Pieau, the unapologetic editor of Closer, in an interview with Sky News.

"Probably other newspapers will choose to publish them, but that wasn't our choice," she said, indicating the possibility of more pictures in the custody of other publications.

She maintained that the pictures were not "degrading" and the outrage over the printing of the images was "disproportionate".

"These photos are not in the least shocking," Pieau told AFP.

"They show a young woman sunbathing topless, like the millions of women you see on beaches."

A teaser on the French Closer website read: "Discover the incredible pictures of the future Queen of England as you've never seen her before ... and as you will never see her again!"

The conduct of Closer has been described as "grotesque and totally unjustifiable" by St James' Palace.

However, Pieau argued: "There were pictures of Prince Harry published in Britain which were more degrading and hot than what we are publishing."

Meanwhile, Italian magazine Chi, which is part of the same publishing group as Closer, has said it will also publish the topless sunbathing photos of the Duchess of Cambridge.

The Italian Chi and French Closer belong to the Mondadori Group, which is owned by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Closer is published in France under licence from Bauer Media UK. Paul Keenan, the CEO of Bauer Media, has issued a statement saying he was "appalled" by the French decision to publish the photographs.

"We deplore the publication of these intrusive and offensive pictures and have asked that Closer France takes these pictures down immediately from its website and desist from publishing any further pictures, " Mr Keenan said in an open letter on the Closer UK website.

"Bauer Media and Closer UK regards publication of these photographs as a gross intrusion of their Royal Highnesses' privacy.

"We were not aware in advance of the purchase of these photographs or of any intention to publish... In the light of their publication, we are now urgently discussing this matter with our licensee and reviewing the terms of our licence agreement with Closer France."

But the photos refuse to go away. The Italian magazine has said it will dedicate 26 pages to the Kate Middleton topless photos in a special issue, much more than the four pages published in France. The edition is expected to hit the stands on 17 September, according to Sky News.

"The fact that these are the future rulers of England makes the article more interesting and topical," said editor Alfonso Signorini.

"This is a deserving topic because it shows in a completely natural way the daily life of a very famous, young and modern couple in love."

The duke and duchess were photographed while they were on a private holiday at an exclusive chateau in Provence, southern France, owned by the Queen's nephew, Lord Linley, ahead of their Asia Pacific tour.