Naked Prince Harry Photos: Royal Family Invokes His Right to Privacy
The images have not appeared in any mainstream U.K. media outlets despite being widely available on the internet.
LONDON – The Royal family contacted the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) about the grainy mobile phone pictures of Prince Harry naked in a Las Vegas hotel room after the images were widely circulated online.
According to reports in the U.K.'s Guardian and Daily Telegraph newspapers, representatives for the Royal households said the family reached out to the press watchdog in a letter, seeking to draw attention to Harry's right to privacy under the PCC's code of conduct.
On Wednesday, TMZ published cell-phone images snapped by people at a party in the Prince's Vegas suite after what the celebrity news site called a game of strip billiards.
Reports said a Royals spokesman denied that the Palace or the Prince of Wales Prince Charles, Harry's father and heir to the throne, had threatened legal action.
But Clarence House, Harry's official London residence, also reminded newspapers on Wednesday afternoon of their own editorial codes of conduct, and to respect the prince's privacy.
The gentle reminder certainly seemed to work.
The original grainy photos showing the stripped-down prince did not run in all the major British newspapers online or in print.
The normally sensationalist News International-owned the Sun tabloid opted to restage the photograph of Harry covering his private parts with his hands, wearing only a gold ring around a necklace as he stands in front of an unidentified woman.
The tabloid, currently still embroiled in the ongoing phone-hacking scandal, put a picture of their own Harry, reporter Harry Miller, on the front as a stand-in with the screaming headline: "Harry Grabs the Crown Jewels."
The Sun's arch rival tabloid the Mirror ran pictures of the prince earlier on his Vegas holiday but did not carry any hint of the nude shots.
Chat shows on the radio and television in the U.K. were alive with the debate surrounding media intrusion, Prince Harry's role as a royal ambassador, army officer and his right to privacy.
The Press Association's court correspondent reported that a source had said the prince, an army officer and Apache helicopter pilot, was just "letting off steam" during a personal break.
ITN news picked up a source claiming the same.
The reticence of the British media is being tipped in some quarters, including the Guardian, as likely to be interpreted as further evidence of the growing caution in the media in the wake of the Leveson inquiry into media ethics.
The Leveson inquiry was set up to look into the relationships between the media and its constituents in light of the phone-hacking scandal that continues to surround Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. subsidiaries.
Tabloid executives, including the Sun editor Dominic Mohan and Mail Online publisher Martin Clarke complained to the inquiry that they could be forced out of business if they are unable to publish material that is put online by media organizations in other countries and widely available on the internet.
Prince Harry is due to return to the U.K. before reporting back to his regiment and return to service with the British Army in Afghanistan.