Naked photos of Prince Harry appear on TMZ – is it really him?
Royal spokesman declines to comment on photos purporting to show prince playing ‘strip billiards’
IF NAKED photographs of Prince Harry posted on the American gossip website TMZ.com turn out to be genuine – and not an elaborate hoax involving a Harry double – then at least Buckingham Palace can be thankful he’s not wearing any Nazi regalia (the 2007 problem) and it’s only his the royal bum we can see.
TMZ writes that Harry "put the crown jewels on display in Vegas" but actually he didn't; he cupped them in his hands during his game of strip billiards in his VIP hotel suite.
USA Today takes an equally liberal line with its coverage, writing: "We've heard Prince Harry has been hanging out in Las Vegas. Now, it seems, he's really hanging out in Vegas."
Again, nothing’s hanging out – at least, not in the photos TMZ has deigned to post.
It would seem the American journalists have been learning some reporting tricks from their British tabloid counterparts – except on this occasion, not one British tabloid has published the story or even mentioned it, at the time of posting.
They are either fighting over the UK rights to the photos or, in a post-Leveson fit of conscience, consulting their royal "experts" on whether the photos really are genuine and whether it’s worth making enemies again with Buckingham Palace and St James’ Palace just when relations between the Fifth Estate and the Royal Family were improving.
Of course, the woman who appears in the two photos posted by TMZ might "come forward" to speak about her "crazy romp with the madcap prince".
Trying to indentify her is no easier than establishing Harry’s identity for sure: she is half-hidden in one photo and in the other – where Harry (again, if it’s him) is giving her a stark naked bear hug from behind - only a hint of her bottom, recently freed from a bikini, is visible.
Harry was visiting Las Vegas at the weekend for a little rest and recreation following the exigencies of cheering on Team GB at the London Olympics.
The game of strip billiards – confirmed by the appearance in one photo of a billiard or pool table - followed a poolside party at the MGM Grand on Saturday where he and Jennifer Lopez were apparently surrounded by “hundreds of bikini-clad lovelies”. On that occasion, he kept his trunks on.
As TMZ concludes its report, "A rep for the Royal Family tells us, 'We have no comment to make on the photos at this time'."