The sensational snaps were splashed across US gossip website TMZ’s homepage yesterday, and showed Prince Harry completely naked in his VIP Las Vegas hotel suite during a game of strip billiards.
In one picture, he has his hands covering his crown jewels, while a naked female hides behind him. In another, he bear hugs another naked girl, with the royal rear facing the camera.
The pictures appear to have been taken on a fellow reveller’s cameraphone.
The Daily Telegraph estimated that the photos had been sold for around £10,000.
The palace said that the publication of the images would be a breach of Prince Harry’s privacy.
The snaps were taken at the weekend after Prince Harry headed to Sin City to party. He was also pictured shirtless at his hotel pool in the company of various bikini-clad women.
The furore over the photos has raised questions about the Prince’s ability to represent the Queen as a senior royal statesman, and has sparked a debate as to what extent his protection officers should step in.
Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said: “Royal protection officers are there to protect him for security reasons. They are not there to regulate his life.”
Prince Harry will return to his army base in Suffolk within the next few days and it’s expected he’ll receive a right royal telling off. As well as embarrassing the royals, his conduct could be construed as bringing the military into disrepute. Military codes of conduct insist on high standards of professionalism “both on and off operations”.
But, worse, what will grandma say?