Naked Harry fallout extends well beyond the party prince
The British papers were filled with Harry's Las Vegas escapdes, though privacy codes prevented the publication of the prince's nude pictures. The Sun tabloid broke ranks and printed the pictures in their Friday edition. (AFP/Getty Images)
Prince Harry’s weekend in Las Vegas was, according to one royal source, all about “letting off steam.”
Turns out it was more about ‘landing in hot water.’ And Harry’s not the only one.
The Prince’s three-day orgy of pools, parties and nudie pix has put the British press into a tizzy, mostly because they have been forbidden from running pictures of naked Harry because of a privacy code, even though the rest of the internet world has replicated the pix many times over. The Sun tabloid is the first to break ranks, running the pictures in their Friday paper (with the headline: HEIR IT IS!), saying it is an issue about freedom of the press and "a clear public interest."
The 27-year-old prince is back in London, but the weekend wrap-ups aren’t over by a long shot, having spawned a whole series of questions, Harry’s party habits the least of them:
1) Though the Sun has finally decided to print the offending Harry pictures -- reportedly sold to TMZ for $16,000 by a partygoer -- it is facing some embarrassing questions over its first attempt to serve readers: They used an intern to help replicate their own version of one of the forbidden pix (right). The Sun “heir brushed” nude Harry with the help of picture editor Harry Miller and an intern at the paper. They posed naked, with Miller holding his naughty bits and the intern standing behind, just like the Vegas shot. The faux photo appeared online briefly then was taken down amid a storm of Twitter posts about the sad life of an intern and whether she was pressured into the shot. The Sun retorted that she was not “in any way unhappy.”
2) Why didn’t Harry’s bodyguards take the cell phones from his guests when they came back to his suite to party and got naked? One former royal protection officer said they “have to look out for him” even in situations that aren’t physically dangerous. One report said an officer made a half-hearted attempt to stop picture-taking during the naked billiards game, but no cameras were confiscated. While it may not be their job to tell Harry how to live his life, it is widely acknowledged that Harry can be hard to handle at times. A review of royal protection protocols will undoubtedly be on the agenda. Most of the yelling inside royal walls is likely over this issue, not Harry’s behaviour.
3) The phone hacking scandal cast a media chill on anything that smacks of abusing the right to privacy. The Palace acted quickly in having the Press Complaints Commission advise newspapers of the code of ethics. But there are now questions about whether pictures taken in his suite was really an invasion of Harry’s privacy. After all, he invited in people who were virtually strangers. This episode will fuel the fire on what freedom of the press means in the internet age. The test now will be whether the Sun's defiance of Palace wishes will result in a complaint to the PCC.
4) Should Harry just give up his royal title? It’s an interesting question. If his chances of reaching the throne are remote (he’s third in line behind brother William and father Charles), then why not just become regular old Harry, outside any ‘royal’ constraints? He could party all he wants and not have to put up with any nonsense about embarrassing the Royal Family. One Guardian blogger floats a compelling argument, though there’s not much chance of him giving up royal title. As one newsroom observer deadpanned: he would lose his best pickup line.
5) What does the Queen think? Does it really matter? She has shown no inclination to scold her family in public and won’t in this case. But she might offer him some fashion advice.