As noted in today’s morning mix, photos of Prince Harry partying naked in Las Vegas after evidently losing a game of strip billiards landed on the Internet overnight courtesy of TMZ. The existence of those photos, which were confirmed as authentic by Clarence House, Prince Charles’s office, has led to a number of questions. Among them:
Why didn’t the prince’s protection team confiscate cellphones from everyone present so that no one could take pictures like that?
Is it tackier to play strip billiards, or to sell photos of a famous person playing strip billiards to a tabloid Web site? (The answer to that is the latter.)
How many times can we read or hear the same “What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas” joke from various media outlets? (Answer: infinite.)
And, finally, should we, the international public at large, care that Harry decided to have a good time on vacation by shedding, at least for a period of time, his clothes?
A piece in the Telegraph argues that while this incident may not matter much in isolation, Harry should adjust his behavior accordingly going forward: “To everything there is a season, and the season for widespread indulgence of Harry’s youthful antics might be gradually drawing to a close,” writes columnist Jenny McCartney. “I hope he is smart enough to recognise it, and — in the meantime — to ensure that fellow players in any spontaneous game of ‘strip billiards’ leave their mobile phones at the hotel room door.”
Others say he’s a guy in his 20s and should be allowed to live it up without being judged.
A London woman told the AP: “I’ve got kids. They do things like that. He’s a lad, for God’s sake.”
A lad, yes. But a lad who is seen as a representative of the royal family, even when he’s inside a hotel suite with some hot babes during what appears to be a private moment. Does that mean that Harry, or any famous figure, is never allowed to enjoy a raging night of fun? Not at all. But I think it means, fairly or not, that there are limits to how far they should let their fun go unless they are 100 percent, lockdown-certain that everyone in the room would never try to make a buck by sharing a compromising photo or leaking an unflattering anecdote. Which is a tough thing to be certain of, by the way, unless non-disclosure agreements are signed just before the first break in strip billiards.
This morning, the Twitter feed for NPR’s “Monkey See” blog expressed concern over the humorous way in which Harry’s embarrassing episode was being reported and made a connection between this story and the sad death of Princess Diana.
“Like, ‘How hilarious that this guy who lost his mother in a chase with paparazzi can’t trust anybody not to sell pictures of him. TEE HEE,’ one update said.
It was a sobering point. It is incredibly unfortunate that the boy who lost his mother because of relentless photo snappers is, as he has been before, now a man who is frequently, aggressively snapped himself. But it’s also the same reason that at this stage, Prince Harry should know better than to tempt tabloid fate.