Kate Middleton
Chi ran pictures of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on holiday in Mustique (Chi magazine)

Last year's controversy surrounding Kate Middleton's topless pictures didn't seem to deter Italian magazine "Chi" from sparking royal outrage again. The gossip tabloid has now printed pictures of Kate Middleton's baby bump.

The magazine, owned by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Mondadori media group, on Wednesday splashed photos of the four-month-pregnant Kate in a blue bikini and with a very visible bump. The photos titled "Kate & William in Mustique: The belly grows" showed the duchess walking along with Prince William on a beach of the Caribbean island of Mustique.

A St James's Palace spokesman in a statement said that the royal family is furious and decision to publish the pictures was "a clear breach of the couple's right to privacy".

"We are disappointed that photographs of the Duke and Duchess on a private holiday look likely to be published overseas," the spokesman added.

The pictures were supposedly sold for tens of thousands of pounds and could also appear in American magazine also, according to Daily Mirror.

A source told the Daily Mirror that "The Duke and Duchess are obviously furious about this.

"Yet again they have been unable to even have one week of holiday without, apparently, images being taken against their will.

"This is all the more worrying at a time when the Duchess is pregnant and obviously raises their concerns about what sort of family life their children will have if this kind of thing continues," added the source.

The magazine defended its decision of publishing pictures saying that they were taken in public.

"It is not possible to talk about a breach of privacy when public personalities are photographed in a public, open place such as (a) beach, attended by bathers," Chi editor Alfonso Signorini told Reuters in an emailed statement.

"The reportage portrays a couple in love in a happy moment as they walk on the seashore...Where is the scandal?" he questioned.