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Printing photos of Harry about ‘freedom of the press,’ U.K. Sun says

- August 24th, 2012
AFP_DV1296954An arrangment of British daily newspapers photographed in London on Thursday shows the front-page headlines and stories regarding nude pictures of Britain’s Prince Harry. However, none of the papers actually ran the photos of the prince. The U.K. Sun will on Friday. (Photo: DANIEL SORABJI/AFP Photo)

Until Friday, no British paper had printed the naked photos of Prince Harry in Vegas.

Now, the U.K. Sun is changing that.

The paper will run a “souvenir printed edition” including the photos of Prince Harry after a naked romp in his Vegas suite a week after the pics were snapped by someone at the private party.

“Heir it is!” the front page headline proclaims. “Pic of naked Harry you’ve already seen on the internet.”

The U.K. Sun will be the first British paper to run the saucy snaps of Prince Harry on Friday. (Photo: U.K. SUN/TWITTER)

Now why, you might be asking, would the U.K. Sun bother? The photos, which they had to obtain from the U.S. celebrity gossip website TMZ, were reportedly being sold to other media outlets for a few thousand dollars. Why print them when, even the Sun admits, you’ve likely already seen them?

“We’ve thought long and hard about this. The Sun is a responsible paper and it works closely with the Royal family. We take heed of their wishes,” managing editor David Dinsmore said on the Sun’s website.

“We’re also big fans of Prince Harry, he does a huge amount of work for this country and for the military and for the image of both of those institutions.

“We are not against him letting his hair down once in a while. For us this is about the freedom of the press.”

The statement notes St. James’ Palace sent legal letters to British newspapers urging editors not to use the photos saying they’re an intrusion into Prince Harry’s privacy.

“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 favourite paper read by eight million people every day,” Dinsmore said.

The British media have long shied away from using paparazzi shots of Prince Harry, Prince William, Duchess Catherine and other young royals while drunk, partying or basically, behaving badly. It’s in part because they were asked to leave Wills and Harry alone while the two were in school, but also because many have blamed the paparazzi for Diana’s death 15 years ago. No British paper wanted to be in trouble with readers for publishing photos that might be perceived as leading to the same tragic end it did for Diana.

But there’s been a push-back as of late because, it seems, the royal family has wanted to control the media more than they need to.

When William and Kate got their puppy at Christmas, it took several weeks before they’d even release the name of the dog (it’s Lupo, by the way) even though the names of the Queen’s corgis are well known. In fact, they refused to say the cocker spaniel was their dog right away.

There were paparazzi shots of them walking the pooch on the beach, which U.S. media outlets ran with, but the British media ignored.

“He is a private pet and they do not want his name to be made public although the couple are happy to confirm that they do, indeed, have a new dog,” a spokesman at St James’s Palace said.

Why did they hold out on telling anyone the dog’s name? Simple – because they wanted to and they could. And they knew even if British outlets found out the name, they’d probably not run it because they’ve been warned so many times before about breaching the privacy of the young couple.

In other cases, members of the royal family have complained to the Press Complaints Commission when photos they’ve deemed too personal have made their way into British papers.

So it’s no surprise this story – whether you think it’s a disgrace or a funny tale of the partying prince having too much fun – has struck a chord with the British media.

It’s not a surprise it’s the Sun running the shots – they were the ones in 2005 who ran the photos of Prince Harry wearing a Nazi uniform and they are known for their tabloid-style journalism (they also had a reporter pose nude to “recreate” the shot earlier this week).

But, putting aside which paper is running these shots, it will be a huge step in the coverage of the royals – in particular the young royals – by the British media. While we won’t see a tonne of paparazzi shots right away, it’s likely we’ll see an uptick in them (no doubt every editor is dying for that first baby bump shot of Kate).

And it means the royal family will either have to realize they can’t control the media (so they have to better control themselves … Harry) and play nice, or they won’t play along and the media will do what they want anyway.

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1 comment

  1. J | August 30, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    “A private pet” oh brother.

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