Prince Harry has flown home from the U.S. just in time to see that picture of himself flying off newsstands in the U.K.: The Sun broke ranks with the rest of Britain's tabloid media and finally published those naked photos of the royal that were taken during his recent Las Vegas vacation.
"Heir it is!," the headline screams, following with a bit of snark: "Pic of naked Harry you've already seen on the Internet. (Click the link that follows to see the cover and the accompanying story, but beware, in case the headline is too subtle: The cover proudly displays that compromising photo of Harry.)
Blurry shots of Harry from the front and back, apparently taken after a losing round of strip billiards in a Vegas hotel suite, went public Tuesday courtesy of TMZ.
Royal officials had previously made it known it frowned upon the notion of sharing the pics.
"The images were first published on the web three days ago," the Sun said. "But the Palace’s lawyers, via the Press Complaints Commission, warned the UK’s newspapers against printing them, claiming they would breach Harry’s privacy and the PCC Code."
The Sun at first went along with the crowd, though it did re-create one shot with the help of a staffer and an intern who posed as Harry had appeared, covering his privates, with a naked woman behind him. Alas, the staffer was nowhere near as fit as Harry is, in the Ministry's opinion. But we digress.
"There is a clear public interest in publishing the Harry pictures, in order for the debate around them to be fully informed," the Sun said Friday in explaining its decision. "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."
All very official. Then the paper played a little blame-the-victim.
"Further, we believe Harry has compromised his own privacy. These are not pictures of him and a girlfriend at Balmoral. The Prince was in Vegas, the party capital of a country with strong freedom-of-speech laws, frolicking in the pool before inviting strangers to his hotel room for a game of strip billiards."
Before launching into the story proper -- in which it's said Harry "was the FIRST to strip — whipping off his swimming shorts in front of around 15 women," the Sun concluded its explanation emphatically, in bold type, "It was vital for us to run them."
So are the photos newsworthy, or just trashy entertainment? All of the above or nothing of the sort? Was the Sun right or wrong to have run the image on its cover?
Share your opinion in comments.
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