Wet and Wild Windsor

Prince Harry Leaps in Pool With Clothes On to Race Lochte

Prince Harry Leaps in Pool With Clothes On to Race Lochte, New Grown-Up Image Drowns

Prince Harry brought his three day bender in Las Vegas to an end by leaping into a swimming pool at 3am on Monday night, still wearing his jeans and challenging Olympic hero Ryan Lochte to a race, which he lost, despite being given a three-second head start by the swimmer.

5,000 other guests looked on as the race unfolded.

Harry was at the XS nightclub, part of the Wynn complex, where he had earlier been enjoying the club's 'Encore' Pool party.

The footage was a reminder of Harry's race against Usain Bolt in Jamaica in March, which he won by false starting.

It was however, also eerily reminiscent of a less glorious moment in Harry's career, when he jumped fully clothed into a swimming pool while on holiday in Croatia last year.

Undeniably, this latest footage projects an image of the young Prince a million miles away from that presented at the Olympic games, where he actually stood in as the official representative of the Monarch during the closing ceremony. This minute long video will also severely undermine all the efforts over the past year to hone a more grown-up and responsible image for Harry as roving ambassador.

The emergence of the video will undoubtedly cause much wringing of hands in the corridors of power at Clarence House, especialy as thus far the coverage of Prince Harry's visit to Las Vegas in the UK papers has been largely celebratory - the playboy prince 'lets his heir down' (Copyright: the Sun) on his well-deserved holiday, a bevvy of bikini-clad beauties for lonely Harry etc etc.

It's probably fair to say that the firm won't be too delighted if more videos like this of the prince frolicking in the pool with his clothes on emerge. Given the massive cellphone camera-equipped audience which witnessed the event, it sems inevitable that they will, however.

Harry was staying at the Wynn resort, and the XS club was hosting an alcohol-fuelled party for Ryan Lochte's 28th birthday.

The problem for Harry now is that while the photos and commentary that have so far appeared online project a fun and glamorous if not totally wholesome image of Harry's latest weekend on the tear, this new video, and another shot by Extra, speak rather more eloquently of the sleazy tack-fest the Las Vegas pool party scene really is.

First off, there's the audio. The pictures of the pool parties don't show the banging tunes that accompany even daytime Vegas pool parties, which make the vibe much more druggy, like a club or a rave, than British audiences at any rate would expect from the rather genteel term 'pool party'. Note, we say the vibe: the Royalist is not suggesting Harry or any of the other punters are actually using drugs.

Then there's the other punters. Let's be frank, heavily tattooed dudes and silicon-enhanced - and we mean really enhanced - blondes in bikinis aren't exactly what the carefully-planned rehabilitation of Prince Harry from feckless parasite to charming international ambassador and official representative of the Queen (as he was at the Olympics closing ceremony) really needs right now.

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The bizarre thing is that although he appears incapable of stopping himself doing it, Harry appears to be equally aware of the need to stop behaving like, and allowing himself to be portrayed as, a 23-year old reality TV star who just got their name on the VIP list for the first time.

Witness his recent comments to Canadian kayaker Michael Tayler, who asked him where the best place in London to party was: “I don’t go out any more,” Harry replied. “I’m too old.”

In fact, 28 is pretty far from being too old to still be going out. But Harry is definitely too Royal to continue with these very public displays of what we had all hoped was just youthful idiocy, if he hopes to continue to have a place at the heart of the British establishment.