Prince Harry naked photos prompted palace call to PCC

Prince Harry Prince Harry was on a private break with friends over the weekend

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St James's Palace has confirmed it contacted the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) over the possible use of naked photos of Prince Harry.

The palace had heard a number of UK newspapers were considering using them, a spokesman said. Not one has done so.

It believed publication of the photos - taken in a Las Vegas hotel room - would constitute an invasion of privacy.

Meanwhile, the Met Police have said they will not discuss "matters of protection" after concerns were raised.

Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe was asked on Wednesday about the images and the role of the prince's protection officers - which are provided by the Met - and said: "Protection officers are there to protect him for security reasons, they are not there to regulate his life."

'Private hotel'

Prince Harry, 27, is believed to be back in the UK after pictures of him and a young woman naked in a Las Vegas hotel room appeared on US gossip website TMZ.

The photos are believed to have been taken on a camera phone last Friday when the prince was on a private weekend break with friends.

St James's Palace confirmed the prince is in the photos and that it contacted the PCC on Wednesday because it had concerns about his privacy being intruded upon, in breach of the editors' code of practice.

A PCC spokesman said there was no formal complaint but confirmed St James's Palace contacted the regulatory body so it could raise concerns with editors.

"They thought Prince Harry had a reasonable right to privacy, being in a private hotel," the spokesman said.

TMZ reported Harry had been pictured in a group playing "strip billiards".

The pictures have been picked up by much of the US media but no British newspaper has published them, although they have appeared on a political blog in the UK and the Sun mocked up an image of one of them on its front page.

On Wednesday evening they appeared on Scottish media and marketing website, the Drum, alongside an opinion piece from the editor saying "decisions not to publish, despite the self-evident news value, are always bad decisions".

Press 'neutered'

One ex-editor said the decision by UK newspapers not to use the photos showed the Leveson Inquiry had "neutered" the press.

The inquiry, which is looking at press standards and the relationship between journalists and those in power, was launched last year in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal that led to the closure of the News of the World.

Former News of the World executive editor Neil Wallis told the BBC that before the Leveson Inquiry he would have published the pictures because it was in the public interest, but the inquiry had had an adverse effect on the press.

British papers may not have printed the pictures of Prince Harry, but they have reported the furore in full detail - and told readers where they can find the photos, which first surfaced on the TMZ entertainment website in the US.

In the past, some papers would have happily countered this with claims that the story was in the public interest, pointing out the risk posed to the prince's security. But for the moment, newspapers are playing safe, waiting for Leveson.

That has not stopped them discussing the full implications of Prince Harry's behaviour.

It's a salutory reminder of the difficulty for Lord Justice Leveson in devising a tighter form of press regulation for the UK in a world where social media and the internet respect no boundaries.

Whatever the Leveson Report says when it is published this autumn, it is certain to spark a new round of arguments about what sort of a press - and regulation - the UK wants.

"He is third in line to the throne, he's been on the world stage for weeks and weeks, he is supposedly surrounded by police security officers," he said.

But media lawyer Mark Stephens said editors realised they had to comply with the wishes of St James's Palace.

"It's because they were asked not to by the PCC and they accepted it was probably the better way to go," he said.

He added that a number of high profile court cases involving celebrities had changed the way the press handle privacy.

Media lawyer Callum Galbraith said the press would have weighed up the prince's privacy rights, against the media's right to publish, before using the pictures.

Mr Galbraith said: "The photos appear to have been taken in the most private of circumstances. Naked photos are, of course, inherently private.

"In addition, it is likely that the prince did not consent to the taking of photos.

"The suggestion that the Leveson Inquiry may be responsible for the UK media not publishing these photos is unfair and inaccurate. The media would always be cautious of such photos."

Former royal protection officer Ken Wharfe described the incident as a setback for the prince, undermining the charitable work and his military career.

BBC media correspondent Torin Douglas said it was a "reminder of the difficulty for Lord Justice Leveson in devising a tighter form of press regulation for the UK, in a world where social media and the internet respect no boundaries".

Harry's antics: Reaction elsewhere on the web

"There has never been a better time for the third in line to the throne to be photographed naked, with naked company, in a Las Vegas hotel room," said a Times leader, pointing out that Harry's recent "triumphant" Caribbean tour and "dutiful but joyful turn" at the Olympic Games earned him "a special place in the nation's heart".

Neil Wallis: "[In the] post-Leveson era newspaper editors are simply scared of their own shadow"

But he will need to tread carefully in the future. "It is a testament to his sheer likeability that Britain will most likely greet his latest, literal, revelations with a grin and an indulgent shrug. If he's still naked at 50, things may be different."

The Daily Mirror's Alison Phillips wrote: "Unlike the royal stuffed shirts, he seems genuine and a bit of a laugh. Which is why it was so disappointing when his aides called in lawyers to ban the pictures from UK newspapers - even though they're being published in Ireland."

Prince Harry "wasn't hurting anyone", she said, and he had "done us proud recently". Perhaps his aides needed to "follow his example and just chill out".

But for the Daily Mail's Amanda Platell, his recent achievements and image clean-up have made the Las Vegas scenes "so disappointing and genuinely shocking".

The prince should have known better, she said, and questioned why no courtier or police protection officer stepped in.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 1437.

    Good on Harry for having a bit of fun. The ridiculous drama by the media over this is embarrasing

  • rate this

    Comment number 1436.

    This story illustrates perfectly the way the British media have been acting as the PR department for the royal family. The BBC has been the worst offender in this. When the Duke of Edinburgh was ill it led on the 6.00 pm news bulletin as the lead story of the day. This was treated as the 4th story of the day on the 6.00 pm news bulletin. The BBC cannot resist placing putting them in a good light.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1435.

    How about a big exposé delving deeply into the personal lives, business dealings and extended families of every tabloid hack, past and present? Let's have some intrusive, candid photos taken covertly in private situations accompanied by unflattering comments about their appearance and some malicious speculation too. Wouldn't that be more "in the public interest" than this current non-story?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1434.


    "This is a story most definitely in the PUBLIC INTEREST considering Harry is using PUBLIC MONEY to enjoy such a life-style."

    NO!...He is's not an official role,therefore it's not paid by the Taxpayer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1433.

    Not sure why the person who took these pictures is being castigated in anyway. Young woman with a phone camera at a party where everyone is drunk and getting naked. It really doesn't take a genius to work out the next stage of the scenario, nor is the person who took the pictures in anyway wrong for doing so.

  • Comment number 1432.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1431.

    he works hard as a soldier and hard as a royal, he's on a private holiday in a private hotel room having some adult fun with consenting friends. i'd rather him be a healthy, happy and normal 27 year old bloke than some up-tight, reserved idiot. third in line to the throne or not he deserves the same privacy as others.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1430.

    @1402. L A Odicean

    Oh come on!'s a naked body it doesn't burn your eyes to look!!

    Whilst I don't condone his behaviour it really isn't a serious matter & certainly nothing to get excited about.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1429.

    The person who took the photos should be seen as trash and should never be allowed to be close to someone like him. Respect the person and get off your stupid camera!

  • Comment number 1428.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1427.

    This is much ado about nothing! He was in a private room with adults, albeit, immature adults; just having harmless fun! The one who took the photos had no idea it would cause this much ruckus and showed poor taste in selling them to the media. Have fun Harry, you are only young once, but watch your

  • rate this

    Comment number 1426.

    As the Prince is a serving commissioned officer in the British Army I would consider him odd if he DIDN'T get drunk and naked in the company of his friends. The fact that he's third in line to the Throne means nothing. Leave him alone. This is a non-story... move along now... there's nothing to see here...

  • rate this

    Comment number 1425.

    I keep seeing this argument from people in favour of showing the images about it being "public interest". That's not a valid argument if it doesn't serve any serious purpose or expose anything vitally important. He got naked with a girl, who really cares? There's no crime or corruption. Almost everyone gets naked with people at some point, the only news here is that Harry can't trust his friends.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1424.

    1415. billyshears

    All that this has demonstrated is that Harry is an irresponsible buffoon. If he honestly wanted to keep his "private life" private, it's not really that difficult, is it?

    When you're the 3rd in line to arguably the most famous modern Monarchy in the world, yes it's very difficult. Don't be so naive.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1423.

    Best of luck to him. He's not married, he can do what it wants as long has it's legal. Why should he be any different to his mates in Afghanistan.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1422.

    Harry is living a normal life and having fun while he's young. He's by far the most life-like of all the Royals who seem to sit like wax-work dummies most of the time.

    The human body is a beautiful creation, and it's clear that most people can't see what the fuss is all about.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1421.

    1373.mofro & 1399.koolkarmauk
    To clarify the Military conduct piece. Have his actions had a detremental effect on the Army or on operational cabability. No. If in public he may (in the UK) recieved a police Caution but in private he is entitled to get naked. A third party has made him public without authority. To many Saints in here (Not meaning you)

  • rate this

    Comment number 1420.

    All the people complaining about the press. Put your money where your mouth is and stop buying the rags of the gutter press then.

    Agreed he needs privacy but so DOES EVERYONE.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1419.

    Prince Harry can cavort naked with as many people as he wishes but he should do so only in front of people who can be trusted to respect his privacy. Obviously, this did not happen here and this is the error of judgement on his part. It is no good blaming those who sold the pictures. Harry is the loser and it was his responsibility to protect himself. Privilege always carries obligations.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1418.

    Prince Harry is awesome, hes a young man having some fun and deffo has my vote for MR GREY lol


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