Here we go again.
St. James Palace has confirmed that paparazzi photos of Kate Middleton in her bikini are in the hands of Chi magazine, the same Italian tabloid that published a 26-page spread of Kate's topless photos last September.
The photos were reportedly taken while the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were on vacation in Mustique and show Kate, who is around four months pregnant, in a bikini.
According to Richard Palmer of the Daily Express, St. James Palace stated the following:
We are disappointed that photographs of the Duke and Duchess on a private holiday look likely to be published overseas.
This is a clear breach of the couple’s right to privacy.
Palmer adds that Chi has a baby bump photo of Kate planned for the cover.
The magazine's move to publish the photos is a bold one, given that the palace has clearly stated its opposition to such media stories. In September 2012, after Closer magazine published the first topless photos of Catherine, the British royal family took the French tabloid to court.
The Daily Mail reports that Chi has already published this new round of bikini photos, which include both Kate and her sister, Pippa. But no images have surfaced on the Internet as of the time of publishing.
Read more at the Mirror.co.uk and stay tuned for more.
UPDATE: Royal reporter Robert Jobson tweeted that the photos have been published with the cover line "La Pancia Cresce", translated as "Your belly grows." Mark Cuthbert, a royal photographer, adds, "Kate in blue bikini showing bump, and William in Blue shorts on cover of Chi magazine in Italty [sic]."
UPDATE II, 2/12/2013: The images are out -- click to Chi's parent website, Mondadori.com, to see the magazine cover.
UPDATE III, 2/13/2013: Following Chi's lead, Australian magazine Woman’s Day also plans on publishing bikini photos of Kate from her Mustique vacation. Editor Fiona Connolly told the Telegraph, "In this instance they are a beautiful set of photos," and defended her decision to run them in the next issue. It's rumored that Women's Day paid up to $150,000 for the photos.
Want more? Be sure to check out HuffPost Style on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram at @HuffPostStyle.
Do you have a style story idea or tip? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. (PR pitches sent to this address will be ignored.)