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TV show displays Kate bump pics
The Duchess of Cambridge Catherine Middleton. Picture: Getty Images

Bosses behind a UK TV show have issued an apology to Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge after accidentally showing controversial pictures of her in a bikini to millions of viewers.

The pregnant British royal and her husband Prince William hit headlines in February when editors of Italian magazine Chi published photographs of the couple taken during a holiday on a private Caribbean island.

The shots, including several showing Catherine displaying her baby bump in a bikini, have enraged the royals and the topic was debated on British TV show This Morning on Wednesday.

The images, which have not been published in Britain, were accidentally shown during the live broadcast, prompting bosses to issue a quick apology to the couple.

"Earlier during today’s news review we were discussing photographs of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on a beach in Mustique published in an Italian magazine. Unfortunately we accidentally showed an unblurred image of the magazine cover, which briefly showed the photographs.

This was a deeply regrettable error and we are very sorry. We apologise unreservedly to the Duke and the Duchess," a statement from This Morning reads.

The news comes after bosses of Australia’s Woman’s Day magazine also decided to publish the shots, and editor Fiona Connolly has claimed the pictures were taken by a member of the public rather than a paparazzo "hiding in the bushes".

The scandal has hit just months after the royal couple previously took legal action over the publication of a number of pictures which showed the Duchess topless during a holiday in France.