The Sun brought the three-day farce over the publication of the naked Prince Harry pictures to an end this morning, when it finally published the saucy snaps of the romping royal. Publicatuon came as further pics of Harry passed out in the sand on Necker Island, before he got to Vegas, emerged.
Lawyers for Prince Charles, who has the most to lose from this scandal, having promoted his youngest son too fast too soon into the ranks of senior royalty, had sought to block publication of the pictures in the UK media, warning papers that publishing them would be in contravention of the voluntary Press Complaints Commission (PCC) code, but the Sun rejected their arguments in a 'Sun Says' leader this morning. The reticence of newspapers in the UK to publish the pics has been blamed on the reaction they fear they will get at the Leveson inquiry into press standards, set up following the phone hacking scandal and which is ongoing, and the Sun is the only UK outlet to pubish the pictures so far.
The Sun said: "We believe printing the photos is within the Press Complaints Commission’s code, based on a previous PCC ruling in favour of a UK magazine which published pictures already widely seen online. On that occasion the PCC said that in privacy matters its code “required the Commission to have regard to the extent to which material is already in the public domain”. It concluded: “The Commission felt that the images were so widely established for it to be untenable for the Commission to rule that it was wrong for the magazine to use them.” We have asked the PCC to explain why this case could be any different. The Prince Harry pictures are a crucial test of Britain’s free Press."
The Sun, which published the pics on the front page under the headline, "Heir It Is!" also says: "There is a clear public interest in publishing the Harry pictures, in order for the debate around them to be fully informed. 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 Sun has also helped restore its reputation as the number 1 scandal sheet in the world, thanks to its US editor Pete Samson, who has unearthed fresh details of what happened in the room. His story reveals that Harry was the first to get naked in the game of strip biliards, and that he 'disappeared' with the girl with whom he was pictured naked at the end of the night.
The Mail meanwhile reports that Harry's hotel bill of $50,000 was comped by the Wynn.
A hotel source said: ‘There is no way Harry was presented with a bill on his way out. That’s not Steve’s style. When Prince Harry is in Vegas, he stays at the Wynn.’
A member of staff said Harry’s guest account was locked and only senior executives with a password could access the details of his bill, but added: ‘I think we’re talking about it running to more than a couple of pages.’