Posting explicit images of former lovers online — so-called "revenge pornography" — has been made a crime in Britain.

Queen Elizabeth II approved the new bill Thursday, a formality that is required before a bill endorsed by Parliament can become law.

The new law means that anyone who shares private and sexual images of another person without that person's permission, and with the intent of causing distress, may face up to two years in prison.

The Ministry of Justice says the law will come into force in the spring.

Campaigners had argued that a specific law will make it much easier for police to deal with cases in which people maliciously post sexual images without the subject's consent.

A helpline for victims has also been launched.