Prince Harry's Nude Vegas Romp Sparks U.K. Media Debate
LONDON – Pictures of a naked Prince Harry bandied around U.S. internet sites during a private holiday in Las Vegas has sparked British media debate on the issue of security costs for the Royals.
The Prince, seen in grainy pictures frolicking during what has been described as a "game of strip billiards" on TMZ, is one of the best-protected members of the British establishment as he is third in line to the throne.
According to various reports, the costs of protecting the young prince and other members of the Royal family run to in excess of $190 million a year.
According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, Prince Harry provides the security detail with the biggest headaches with one former royal protection officer describing the job as "nightmare."
As a Buckingham Palace spokesman told THR that the photos were "genuine," the question over the costs of keeping the Prince safe kicked off.
Dai Davies, the former head of royal protection at the Metropolitan Police Service, told The Telegraph it was a balancing act between the demands of his high-profile status with his youthful pursuits.
"We are paying huge amounts of money for this young man to be followed everywhere he goes by security, which costs so much," Davies told the Telegraph.
He noted that while British security "costs in excess of £120 million ($190 million) a year" the Prince and his fellow family members hadn't chosen to be royals.
"I don't envy their [security officers'] job. It must be a nightmare at times, trying to ensure that he doesn't get into these kinds of scrapes," Davies said.
But The Telegraph report also points to the fact the security detail is publicly-funded and as a result "still rests uneasily."
Emma G Keller, writing in The Guardian, called for Prince Harry to be stripped of his Royal status for undermining "the hard work of the rest of their team" with bad behavior.
And there was some media speculation that Harry, an officer in the British Army, might find himself in hot water with his superior officers for behavior unbecoming an officer serving in her Majesty's army.
According to a separate report in The Telegraph, military codes of conduct warn officers that they must maintain high standards of professionalism “both on and off operations”.
The guidelines state that members of the army must not display any “social misbehavior”, especially if it results in any damage to corporate image or reputation.
Not everyone took the high moral ground.
CNN host Piers Morgan, a man who tweets constantly, threw his pennyworth in.
"I'm shocked and disgusted by the Prince Harry party photos in Vegas. Why the hell wasn't I invited????," Morgan joked.
It all came as it emerged St James's Palace had earlier in the day asked the U.K. press not to publish the naked grainy images of Prince Harry.
"Thank God noone in the U.K. has got access to the internet," came one sarcastic tweet.