Prince Harry naked Vegas photos published by Sun

 

Media lawyer Mark Stephens: "The law of privacy in this country is abundantly clear"

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The Sun has become the first British newspaper to publish the photos of a naked Prince Harry taken in Las Vegas.

Its owner News International said it was making the move despite warnings from the Royal Family's lawyers that it would be an invasion of his privacy.

The Sun said the images were widely available around the world, its readers had a right to see them and freedom of the press was being tested.

The pictures emerged from a private weekend the prince spent with friends.

The two photos of the prince and a naked woman in a hotel room are believed to have been taken on a camera phone last Friday.

They first appeared on US website TMZ earlier this week.

In Friday's Sun, under the headline "Heir it is", the paper says: "Pic of naked Harry you've already seen on the internet".

David Dinsmore, managing editor of the Sun, said the paper had thought "long and hard" about publication and added: "For us this is about the freedom of the press.

"This is about the ludicrous situation where a picture can be seen by hundreds of millions of people around the world on the internet but can't be seen in the nation's favourite paper read by eight million people every day.

"This is about our readers getting involved in the discussion with the man who is third in line to the throne - it's as simple as that."

In an editorial, the newspaper said the pictures represented a crucial test of Britain's free press.

'Decision for editors'

St James's Palace had contacted the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) on Wednesday because it said it had concerns about the 27-year-old prince's privacy being intruded upon, in breach of the editors' code of practice.

The palace said it had heard a number of UK newspapers were considering using the pictures, although none had until now.

Start Quote

The fact that [the photos] happened is well known. How the public interest is served by doing this is not clear”

End Quote John Whittingdale MP Commons culture committee

In reaction to the Sun's decision, a palace spokesman said: "We have made our views on Prince Harry's privacy known. Newspapers regulate themselves, so the publication of the photographs is ultimately a decision for editors to make.

"We have no further comment to make either on the publication of the photographs or on the story itself concerning Prince Harry's private holiday in Las Vegas."

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

The Sun said in a statement that in publishing the photos it was not making any moral judgement about the prince's activities.

It said: "He often sails close to the wind for a royal - but he's 27, single and a soldier.

"We like him. We are publishing the photos because we think Sun readers have a right to see them. The reasons for that go beyond this one story."

It added: "There is a clear public interest in publishing the Harry pictures, in order for the debate around them to be fully informed.

'Privacy compromised'

"The photos have potential implications for the prince's image representing Britain around the world. There are questions over his security during the Las Vegas holiday. Questions as to whether his position in the Army might be affected.

"Further, we believe Harry has compromised his own privacy."

The non-publication of the photos by British newspapers despite their publication elsewhere had prompted a debate about the impact the Leveson Inquiry was having on press behaviour.

Former News of the World executive editor Neil Wallis said it showed British newspapers had been "neutered".

Selection of UK newspaper front pages (23/08/2012) The Prince Harry pictures have generated much front-page coverage in the UK

The Leveson Inquiry was set up to investigate the practices and ethics of the press following the phone-hacking scandal.

Commons culture, media and sport select committee chairman John Whittingdale said of the Sun's decision: "The fact that [the photos] happened is well known. How the public interest is served by doing this is not clear."

Ex-Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said the Sun had shown "absolute utter contempt" for the law and the Leveson Inquiry.

Former Sun editor Kelvin Mackenzie told Newsnight that in his opinion the decision to publish the pictures could not have been made without News International boss Rupert Murdoch's consent.

Mr Mackenzie added: "I'm unsure why the establishment hate newspapers so much but what I'd like to see is editors get off their knees and start pushing back against these curtailments in what will eventually, I promise you, lead to the closure of newspapers.

"People should stop worrying about privacy and start worrying about what free speech will mean to this country if the Levesons and the Camerons of this country have their way."

Both the Daily Mirror and the Independent said they had not published the photos because they considered that they breached the prince's privacy.

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 824.

    So what ! he had his photo taken with no clothes on big deal so have I in my youth not a pretty sight I hasten to add.

    What a sad society we have become to make so much of this and to think it so newsworthy. We need to get a grip in this country and get our priorities right Harry having a good time is his business.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 823.

    Is it in the national interest to show somone acting and doing somthing as normal as everyone else does....I doubt

    To create this kind of naegative backlash against the Sun whilst the Leveson Inquiry has not even wrapped up, on an inquiry they brough about, sounds like a parting shot before News international sells off their remaining UK Interests in the tabloid. else it doesnt make sence

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 822.

    Whether he likes it or not he has a responsibility to our country and this is not how the Royal Family should be depicted. I think it's an absolute disgrace! Only 2 weeks ago he was representing the Queen at the Olympics. How can this be an invasion of privacy, there were loads of people at the party in the first place so his privates are hardly private!!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 821.

    I don't know, it seems a little absurd to think that I would have the right to see naked pics of anyone really. But according to the 'Sun' I'm apparently wrong. Fair enough, guess I'll be sending them a list of people that, frankly I'd much prefer to see in the buff. 1st up, Scarlet Johansson please.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 820.

    788. David
    That may well be the case but we all know that the press is not interested in whether this frolicking was done at the expense of the tax payer, It’s the sex angle that the press is interested in. Personally I like sex, but I’m not remotely interested in somebody else’s sex life, and frankly I don’t care for the royals full stop, William, Harry, Charles or their sainted mother,

  • Comment number 819.

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

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 818.

    Shock Horror, 'Army Bloke gets kit off with blondes in posh hotel' and this is claimed as being in the public interest... no it's just another of Murdock revenge tactics... New internation should be shut down (and sky and Fox and... and...)

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 817.

    @806. TudweiliogRed
    "What's the difference between the Ryan Giggs affair and this ?"

    The main difference is that Rayn Giggs is married and had a reputation for being a clean living family man. Harry is single and hence not hurting anyone.

    Personally I feel that people's family lives should not be the new's business at all, but even so there is a very obvious difference between the stories.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 816.

    He's a single young man enjoing life hes no differnt to any other young men .Leave him alone hes done nothing wrong .

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 815.

    Since Harry is clearly enjoying a game of pool, surely these two pictures should have appeared on the back pages of the paper along with other sporting highlights of the day. Maybe the papers will get it right with the next two leaked photographs which show Harry chalking his cue and potting the black!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 814.

    I really don't care about it. I think it's right that people should make honest mistakes, that's how you learn. It's just that we've never really had the same media pressure on royals before to be picture perfect. If we'd had this level of media focus during previous reigns can you imagine the headlines for Henry VIII or Mary I?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 813.

    I think people of private means doing legal things in private have a right to privacy, whether they are a celebrity or not. As someone who is effectively on state benefit, we have a right to know how this money is being spent/wasted.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 812.

    Informing debate? Implications for the prince's image? Questions over his security? Position in the Army affected?

    Lets cut to the chase, far from positioning itself as the defender of press freedom, The Sun simply wants to increase its sales. Their readers after all are hardly known for their debating skills!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 811.

    He is not a regular soldier, or a normal 27 year old blowing off steam. He is a prince, and has benefits that far exceed the ordinary soldier, end of. He is representing the UK in all of his actions. None of his actions seem to impress…

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 810.

    It is no defence for the Sun to say Harry's privacy rights were invaded outside the UK so they are entitled publish the photographs within the UK. Their publication is just as much a breach of privacy. It is hard to see what public interest displaces Harry's privacy rights. Cynical me says the Sun published the photos under a spurious public interest claim just to make more money.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 809.

    And the Sun newspaper should have published the result of the survey they did to show they actually did this in the public interest.......

    Looks more like since the demise of NOTW, this corp will do anything to make money, regardless of Leveson and or anything else!

    Well what do you expect from the Sun anyway, i have never seen anything news worthy in that newspaper - NEVER!!

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 808.

    Why does it matter if a paper posts pictures which have already been seen by millions? Honestly, why does it matter? It's all just complete nonsense.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 807.

    Wasn't there another case recently of a group of officers in one of the armed services doing something similar & all getting sent home for bringing the Army/Navy/Air Force into disrepute.

    If that is the case there would be a whiff of hypocrisy if Harry gets away with it.

    There's your public interest defence.

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 806.

    What's the difference between the Ryan Giggs affair and this ? If I remember correctly, all newspapers could not wait to print that story citing the same explanation as The Sun is doing today i.e. that the information is already available on the Internet.
    Seems to me that there is one rule for some and another rule for others. Just like the rest of the royals Harry's an idiot. End of !

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 805.

    @768.heaven

    "strange how a 'soldier' can take such long 'holidays' on tax payers money"

    Firstly, I do not believe Harry receives any payment for the job he does.

    Secondly, I am proud that a member of our Royal Family chooses to put himself in harms way (no matter how reduced) alongside other regular soldiers. Politicians might talk about "Big Society" but Harry shows it in his actions.

 

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