A publisher and paparazzi photographer have both been charged in connection with the controversial pictures of Kate Middleton taken in a French chateau last year.

Ernesto Mauri, head of the Mondadori Group which publishes Closer, has been charged with invasion of privacy by judges in the Paris suburb of Nanterre, according to sources close to the case.

Paparazzi photographer Valerie Suau, who has admitted taking pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge while she was sunbathing in her Provence chateau, has received an identical charge.

However Suau has only been charged for taking pictures of the Duchess in a bikini, which appeared in regional paper La Provence. Judges are still trying to establish who took the topless pictures of Middleton, which were published by Closer.

It is believed Suau, who has been largely reclusive since the topless photo furore broke last September, was arrested earlier this month. However she maintains the photos she took were wholly decent.

This stance has been echoed by La Provence, which said it does not find the allegations fair and complained that it has been unfairly lumped in with Closer.

A statement from the newspaper said: "La Provence maintains that the photos it published (by Valerie Suau) ... show Kate Middleton and her husband in bathing suits and are not topless on the terrace of the Château d'Autet.

"These photos are not indecent at all and do not invade the privacy of the prince and his wife."

Royal furore

The photos were taken when the royal couple were holidaying deep in the French countryside in September. The chateau was owned by another member of the royal family, Lord Linley.

The images published in Closer magazine, which attracted the most criticism, were taken with a long lens camera. They depict the Duchess topless and rubbing sun cream into her husband's back.

William and Kate took legal action against Closer following publication of the photos,with lawyer Aurelien Hamelle claiming they felt "violated" due to the interruption of a "highly intimate moment during a scene of married life".