The German publication, which covers celebrity news and gossip in a tabloid style, has published images of the duchess suffering from a wardrobe malfunction caused by a gust of wind in Australia last month.
In the image, Prince William has his hand around his wife’s back and they are walking away from the camera, but the duchess’s Diane Von Furstenberg dress is flying up to reveal her bare bottom. The online image appeared next to photos of two of the Kardashian sisters under a provocative headline.
"Bild’s decision is likely to have infuriated the Cambridges, but Clarence House refused to comment today," the Daily Mail reported. "The pictures were offered to the British press — who refused them — so the photographer sold them to the ‘highest bidder’ around the world, according to the Daily Star."
There is some question as to possible fallout from the photograph, particularly since Prince William and Duchess Kate have previously taken on others they believed had violated their privacy. In 2012, they famously won an injunction against a French magazine, Closer, which had published topless photos of Kate.
The news of the recent photo follows recent revelations in a British court that Kate’s voicemail was hacked more than 100 times prior to her 2011 wedding to Prince William. Clive Goodman, the former royal editor of the News of the World royal editor who, along with several others is on trial for the hacking, testified in London that Kate, Prince William and Prince Harry had been victimized repeatedly. The trial has rocked Britain and sparked new discussions about media ethics.
The pursuit of members of the royal family by paparazzi has been a hotly debated subject since Prince William’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in a Paris car crash in 1997. Diana’s vehicle was being chased by photographers on motorcycles at the time of the accident.
According to Spiegel Online International, Bild does have "a few standards," however.
The publication took great umbrage when Britain’s Sun published photos of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s bare bum while she was changing into her bathing suit during an Italian holiday in 2006.
Bild, according to Spiegel, "vented its outrage on Tuesday in an article headlined ‘Brits Lampoon Our Chancellor’ and asked: ‘Where does this hatred come from? These are photos of private activities that no one would want to see of himself in the newspaper.’