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Prince Harry needs a reality check

- January 23rd, 2013
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Prince Harry speaking to the media in November while stationed in Afghanistan. (Photo: John Stillwell/REUTERS)

I think Prince Harry is pretty cool. He’s a veteran – having served two tours in Afghanistan. He seems like a nice enough guy when he’s been out for public events (although I suppose that’s his job, being a member of the royal family). And we all know he likes to have fun.

But dude needs a serious reality check.

This week he ended his tour in Afghanistan and as part of that, he did an exit interview with the media. In it, he basically blasted the media for being jerks.

Newspapers published stories and photos of him after he was caught with his pants not only down, but completely off, while playing pool with some girls during a private vacation in Vegas. He said he should have been able to expect some privacy.

He called the media out over the fact that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had to announce their pregnancy early.

He also told a TV producer, “I never wanted you guys to be out here, but there was an agreement made to invite you out on the deal that the media didn’t speculate before my deployment. That’s the only reason you guys are out here.”

Harry very clearly has a huge chip on his shoulder and, frankly, he needs to get over it. Now.

Yes, the media published photos of him cavorting naked in Vegas. But, the prince did absolutely nothing to prevent those photos from ever existing – he and his entourage invited some random girls up to their suite to hang out and, apparently, play billiards naked. At no point did he or his friends tell anyone in that room no cellphones, no cameras, no recording devices of any kind. Were they afraid the girls would say no to partying with them if they put stipulations like that on the evening?

So, someone from that room realizes, “Hey, I’ve got naked photos of that prince guy – I should totally sell them and make a boatload of cash!”

In the U.S., where the photos were taken and first published, Prince Harry is nothing but an adorable red-headed prince from another country. His title means basically nothing to Americans. He’s just another celebrity – and websites like TMZ (which first published the snaps) thrive because there is a certain level of obsession with celebrities.

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Harry seems to expect the media not to report on the bad details of his life. (Photo: Twitter/QMI AGENCY)

The naked photos make news in the U.S. – does he actually expect British newspapers or media outlets around the world to ignore it?

Sure, you can expect privacy when you ensure what you’re doing is private. Unlike the photos of Wills and Kate taken during a vacation in France (topless shots were taken by a photographer hiding out with a telephoto lens), Harry let someone into that room with a camera, let them take pictures, didn’t tell them to delete them and then expected them to magically stay off the front pages of newspapers and gossip websites.

As for it being the media’s fault that Kate and William had to announce their pregnancy early, well, I don’t believe that’s the case. I think palace officials made the move to announce the pregnancy because they were afraid someone inside the hospital would leak the information – if the British papers didn’t pick it up (as they do tend to shy away from reporting rumours), a gossip website would. Then there would be more fighting between the royals and the papers about how information is released.

It wasn’t a case of the media hounding the poor couple about their pregnancy, or having spies in all hospitals just in case Kate came in. It was the palace realizing the news was about to get out due to Kate’s illness and her need to be hospitalized, and releasing the information.

Prince Harry and Prince William have long hated the media, blaming newspapers/magazines/photographers/TV stations for their mother’s death.

But the brothers have also long been shielded from the media. Photos were released by the palace of the boys growing up instead of photographers following them around, interviews were given only until strict supervision – it was an agreement between the media and the palace to let the boys grow up.

The agreement, however, seems to have just soured Harry and William more to the media – the press is a necessary evil, but both brothers seem to be of the opinion they’d rather do without reporters and photographers.

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(Photo: Daniel Sorabji/AFP)

The problem with that is, if we in the media stop covering their good deeds and public appearances, then the general public forgets they exist, or worse, start to question what we need a royal family for anyway. Why do tax dollars go to support the monarchy when they offer nothing to the people?

But, if the media covers the royal family, then we see they do good things – a big part of which is working with charities.

Unfortunately for Harry and William, coverage by the media doesn’t just mean we show up for the good stuff. It also means we’re there for the bad.

Both princes need to buck up and stop this whining that “the media is a bunch of jerks.” Instead, don’t give us the bad stuff to report on.

There are ways to stay out of the headlines, Harry. Don’t blame the media when you do something stupid and it gets reported on – that’s like burning your tongue with hot tea and blaming the tea.

The media isn’t going away, Harry. So learn to live with it.