Royals Spokesman: Photos of Naked Prince Harry in Las Vegas 'Genuine'
The British media covered the news of the pictures online, but stayed away from showing them amid suggestions that media were warned about publishing them.
The British media, including the country's infamous tabloids, on Wednesday morning caught up with news of pictures of a naked Prince Harry taken during a party weekend in Las Vegas as a Buckingham Palace spokesman told THR that the photos were "genuine."
TMZ overnight published two grainy cell phone photos taken by people at a party in his Vegas suite after what the celebrity news site called a game of strip billiards.
The news came too late for newspapers' Wednesday editions, which instead featured coverage of an impromptu race between Prince Harry and Ryan Lochte in a Las Vegas nightclub's pool.
The naked images also showed up on several other U.S. web sites and led to Prince Harry's name trending on Twitter.
By late Wednesday morning, newspapers here had caught up on the story via their web sites. Coverage generally mentioned the pictures, and in some cases, their exact content, but the sites didn't include the actual pictures.
There were signs of a debate about whether to show the pictures or not.
Cathy Newman, a host for for Channel 4 News, tweeted late Wednesday morning: "Much hilarity in morning meeting about Prince Harry's exploits. We can't show the pix even though they're all over the web. Right or wrong?"
And the Guardian in a brief news post said that royal aides were understood to have warned British media organizations not to publish the photos.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman told THR that the pictures were "genuine" and that Prince Harry was "on a private holiday" and expected to return to the U.K. shortly. He also said it was "up to each publication" to decide whether to use the Prince Harry pictures. He declined to comment further.
BBC News and Sky News didn't seem to have reported on the photos as of late morning.
The Telegraph in an online story used the headline "Prince Harry risks Royal Family's blushes with naked hotel party." But the story didn't show the pictures and said in a second headline: ""Photographs appearing to show Prince Harry nude in Las Vegas hotel while on a summer break released by website in US."
The Sun, the tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., used the online headline "Prince Harry caught fully naked after partying in Las Vegas."
And the Daily Mail's web site titled: "Naked Prince Harry pictured cavorting with nude girl in VIP suite during raucous Vegas holiday."
Both sides used pictures of Prince Harry in swim trunks, but described the TMZ photos.
"In one graphic shot, Harry is seen protecting his own modesty with his hands as a nude girl hides behind him," the Sun wrote. "Another shows the third in line to the throne bear-hugging an undressed girl with his bum bared to the camera."