The Sun tabloid yesterday published photographs of Prince Harry naked in Las Vegas, becoming the first British publication to defy a legal request from the royal family.
On Thursday, newspapers in Britain did not publish the images of Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson naked with an unnamed woman while on holiday in the US city, following a request from St James’ Palace, the official residence of the prince, through the Press Complaints Commission to respect his privacy.
However, almost half of the front page of yesterday’s The Sun shows the naked prince covering up his genitals with his hands as an apparently naked woman hides behind him in a hotel room.
The Sun, part of the British arm of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, said millions around the world had already seen the pictures and its readers had a right to see them.
David Dinsmore, managing editor of The Sun, said in a video on the paper’s Web site that the decision to publish was not taken lightly, but the issue had become one of “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 favorite paper read by eight million people every day,” Dinsmore said.
Two pictures of the naked prince, who has a reputation as a partying playboy, were first published on the celebrity gossip Web site TMZ on Wednesday.
Their publication has since caused an ethical dilemma for British editors reeling from a judge-led inquiry into press conduct.
St James’ Palace had contacted the Press Complaints Commission on Wednesday over concerns about the prince’s privacy being intruded upon.
“Newspapers regulate themselves, so the publication of the photographs is ultimately a decision for editors to make,” the BBC quoted a spokesman for the royal family as saying yesterday.