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Britons shrug off Prince Harry's naked photos

Britain's Prince Harry gives a thumbs up during the award ceremony after playing a charity polo match in Campinas, Brazil, on March 11, 2012. The third in line to the British throne, Harry played a game of strip billiards in his Las Vegas hotel suite in August of 2012, only to find that someone leaked blurry photos of the naked royal cozied up to an apparently undressed mystery woman. Prince Harry's office confirmed that the photos were of the prince, but declined to make any further comment.
AP Photo/Andre Penner

(CBS/AP) LONDON - Britain's Prince Harry has been caught on camera doing something embarrassing - again.

Celebrity gossip website TMZ on Tuesday posted photos of the 27-year-old royal cavorting nude with an unidentified woman in a VIP suite in Las Vegas. It's hardly the first time the prince - who allegedly disrobed as part of a game of strip pool - has been filmed in a compromising situation. The third-in-line to the throne was famously photographed wearing a Nazi uniform for a costume party, and in another photo gaffe he was seen cupping the breast of a female TV presenter. Some would argue footage in which he was heard to utter a racial slur while teasing a fellow army cadet from Pakistan was more serious.

Prince Harry naked: Is the "party prince" back?

If the reaction of Britons to Harry's Las Vegas adventure was anything to go by, the nude photos will do little to tarnish his generally positive, party-prince image. The Associated Press asked an assortment of royal watchers and British subjects about what they thought about the prince's naked romp.

Did Harry do anything wrong?

Jim Conlon, a 60-year-old construction worker: "The answer to that is categorically NO." Conlon, who was unloading bags of material from a car, seemed genuinely offended by the very question. "I'd be proud of him if he were my son," he said.

Conlon's opinion was typical of a country where thousands of streets and pubs are named for the royal family. Polls published earlier this year showed support for the monarchy at an all-time high, perhaps buoyed by the celebrations surrounding Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee celebrations marking her 60 years on the throne.

Interviews with Londoners up and down the capital's Prince of Wales Road yielded few critics of Harry's antics.

Craig Martin, 38, another construction worker: "He's the prince. He can have any bird he wants!"

Down the road, caregiver Shirley Ashard laughed at the news of Harry's naked adventure, dismissing questions about the propriety of running around a plush hotel room in the buff with a boys-will-be-boys shrug.

"I've got kids. They do things like that," the 59-year-old said. "He's a lad, for God's sake."

Will Harry's romp harm the image of the prince, or the royal family?

Hanad Darwish, a 19-year-old student from Birmingham, worried about what Harry's hijinks said about his judgment.

"It is a little immature and gives the royals a bad image," he said.

But Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, said it wasn't likely that Harry's reputation would suffer. Seward said his party-boy image was part of his approachable, normal persona.

"Of course it's stupid, but it doesn't make people dislike him - quite the opposite," she said.

"I honestly think it makes him more endearing as a character," she said. "This is why people want to see Harry. People get more hysterical about Harry because he does these little - well, maybe it's a big faux pas."

Watch: Do we love Prince Harry for his flubs? Majesty magazine editor explains

She did think, though, it still had negative consequences. "It reflects badly on Harry. It reflects badly on his regiment, and it reflects badly on the Queen," she said. "Whatever he did, I'm sure he's regretting it now."


Doesn't the royal family have a history of bad-boy behavior?

Yes, said Anne Sebba, biographer of Wallis Simpson, the American divorcee whose affair with King Edward VIII - Harry's great-great-uncle - led to his abdication in 1936.

That king's grandfather, Edward VII - who reigned from 1901 to 1910 - had many affairs, parking his carriage outside the houses of his mistresses while he visited.

"The staff would be very discreet," said Sebba. "People knew; they just didn't talk about it."

Edward VIII and Simpson were well known in upper-crust circles for their hedonistic parties - and some visitors wrote their shocked reactions in diaries.

"It didn't reach the papers," Sebba said. "It is just in the private diaries. Nobody was taking photographs. Nobody was posting it on the Internet.

"The old system depended on incredible discretion, loyalty and deference - and all that has gone. The royal family has had to make themselves so open and available and this is the downside of the coin."

Both of Prince Harry's parents also had affairs - his mother, the late Princess Diana acknowledged she strayed, while his father Prince Charles's reputation initially took a hit when the details of his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, now his second wife, went public.

Prince Harry's office confirmed Wednesday that the photos were of the prince, but declined to make any further comment.