Kate and her husband, Prince William, were informed over breakfast of the scandal shortly before they departed to visit a mosque in Kuala Lumpur and have seen copies of the pixellated photographs.
The shots were taken as she was sunbathing by a swimming pool with Prince William at a chateau in Provence.
The couple are now considering what their legal options are should the pictures prove to be genuine.
St James’s Palace was bracing itself after Closer trailed its ‘exclusive’ on its website with the words: ‘World Exclusive; Kate and William in Provence: Oh My God!’
A senior Royal source has apparently alluded to the death of Princess Diana, William’s mother, who was killed in a Paris car crash in 1997 as she was chased by paparazzi, by claiming the incident incident turns the clock back 15 years.