Marina & The Diamonds
Just a Little Bit
Josh Halliday, Wednesday 22nd August 2012 10:48
Pictures of a naked Prince Harry partying in Las Vegas have been published by a US celebrity gossip website.
Clarence House confirmed that the grainy mobile phone pictures, taken in Las Vegas and published online by TMZ early on Wednesday, UK time, are genuine, but declined to comment further.
However, royal aides are understood to have moved quickly to warn British media organisations not to republish the embarrassing photographs.
The prince, who is third in line to the throne, is shown without clothing in two pictures taken on his trip to Las Vegas.
Royal aides are understood to be urging the British media to respect the prince's privacy and not republish the photographs, which are likely to have been taken without his consent.
British newspapers have published numerous pictures of Harry's trip to Las Vegas this week, where he has been seen partying with the US Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte.
TMZ has risen to prominence in recent years with a string of showbiz exclusives, including being the first to report Michael Jackson's death in 2009.
The publication of the photographs marks a new level of media intrusion into the lives of the royal family.
Royal aides suggested that Clarence House may contact the Press Complaints Commission if the pictures are used by British publications. The PCC declined to confirm whether it had been contacted by Clarence House.
Each of the major British newspapers chose not to use them in online stories by late on Wednesday, although they were published by the Ireland-based Westminster gossip blog, Guido Fawkes.
The reticence of the British media is likely to be interpreted by some in the industry as further evidence of a chilling effect caused by the Leveson inquiry into media ethics. Tabloid executives, including the Sun editor Dominic Mohan and the Mail Online publisher Martin Clarke, have 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 organisations in other countries and widely available on the internet.
The saga is reminiscent of the topless picture of Sophie, Countess of Wessex published by the Sun in 1999. The Sun's then editor, David Yelland, immediately apologised after Buckingham Palace accused the paper of "premeditated cruelty" and made a formal complaint to the PCC.
Prince Harry is no stranger to compromising pictures being published. In 2005, he was pictured in a Nazi uniform at a fancy dress party. Four years later, Harry was forced to apologise after a video diary recorded him referring to an Asian member of his army platoon as "our little Paki friend".
The royal family has been attempting to distance Harry from his past image as the "party prince".
He has appeared with dignitaries at several royal events over the past 12 months, including with senior politicians at the Olympics and the Queen's diamond jubilee celebrations. He also represented the royal family at the London Olympic Games closing ceremony earlier this month.
In March, he completed his first royal solo tour overseas with visits to Belize, the Bahamas, Brazil, and Jamaica, where he won PR gold as he met Olympic 100m champion, Usain Bolt.
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