By a Newsnet reporter
Newspapers in the UK are reportedly running scared of publishing photographs of Prince Harry romping naked in a Las Vegas Hotel room.
Images of the prince, who is third in line to the throne, have appeared in US gossip magazines TMZ and across the internet after he invited friends back to his hotel room in the US gambling capital to play ‘strip pool’.
“Once in the room, things got WILD,” TMZ reported. “With the group playing a game of strip pool that quickly escalated into full-on royal nudity.”
The grainy photographs, taken in the VIP suite at the Wynn Hotel where rooms can cost $1500 per night, were confirmed as genuine on Wednesday by Buckingham Palace. The Prince flew home to London yesterday.
Buckingham Palace has remained silent, and apparently acutely embarrassed, after the prince was shown in a series of naked poses, one of which appears to show the prince grabbing a young woman from behind who is standing by a pool table.
Many commentators have suggested that newspapers in the UK are now afraid to publish the images because of scrutiny of the industry by the Leveson inquiry caused by phone hacking and other invasions of privacy.
The Guardian newspaper has claimed that “royal aides are understood to have moved quickly to warn British media organisations not to republish the embarrassing photographs.”
However an American outlet quotes a Royal spokesperson as saying that publication of the photos was “up to each publication.”
This isn’t the first time Prince Harry has been at the centre of controversy. In 2005 he was photographed wearing a Nazi Uniform while attending a friend’s costume party and in 2006 the prince caused anger when he was shown referring to an army cadet colleague as “our little Paki friend” and another man as a “raghead”, a derogatory term for someone wearing Arab headdress, in a private video.
Opinions on the Prince’s latest exploits are divided, with some suggesting he is a young man simply enjoying a break with friends.
However critics have suggested that naked parties in a Las Vegas hotel room are not at all appropriate for someone who is the third in line to the throne in the UK.