A royal spokesman has said that the emerging scandal surrounding topless pictures of Kate Middleton will not derail her tour of the Far East with Prince William.

The royal couple are currently in Malaysia and are about to head to the state of Sabah, on the island of Borneo, where they will attend a reception. They will visit the rainforest, which shelters orangutans, clouded leopards, elephants, sun bears and rhinos.

Simon Featherstone, the UK's high commissioner in Malaysia, told IB Times UK that the activities were continuing as planned, saying:

"The visit will allow their royal highnesses to deliver a powerful and positive message on rainforest conservation that has global reach and genuine impact."

Regarding a response to the photos, the aide said that "we are communicating with French lawyers as to what our options are in terms of French laws. So we want to take advice before we take further action."

'Red line'

Buckingham Palace has warned that semi naked pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge topless cross a "red line," and a royal aide has confirmed that officials representing the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are in talks with French lawyers about the pictures, which are due to be published today by French Closer magazine.

Kate was snapped while sunbathing by a pool during a holiday with her husband at a French chateau, owned by the Queen's nephew Lord Linley. The pictures were taken a week before the royal couple set off on their current tour of the Far East.

Publishing the snaps could be dangerous for Closer, because France has strict privacy laws.

Closer is published by a media corporation owned by former Italy prime minister and bunga-bunga lover Silvio Berlusconi.