The British royal family will not formally complain to a press watchdog over the publication of nude photos of Prince Harry by Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun newspaper, officials said on Friday.
Harry’s office at St James’ Palace said lodging a complaint with the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) would be a distraction from the 28-year-old’s current deployment as an Apache helicopter pilot in Afghanistan.
Britain’s best-selling newspaper broke ranks with the national press last month by printing grainy snaps of the third-in-line to the throne playing “strip billiards” with a mystery blonde in a Las Vegas hotel suite.
“Having considered the matter now for a number of weeks, we have decided not to pursue a complaint with the PCC on behalf of Prince Harry in respect of the photos of the Prince taken in Las Vegas,” the prince’s spokesman said.
“We remain of the opinion that a hotel room is a private space where its occupants would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.”
The royals had warned British media through the PCC that printing the pictures — which first surfaced on a US gossip website before spreading rapidly online — would breach Harry’s privacy.
The palace added: “Prince Harry is currently focused entirely on his deployment in Afghanistan, so to pursue a complaint relating to his private life would not be appropriate at this time and would prove to be a distraction.”
Harry is currently serving a second tour of duty in Afghanistan.
He is based at NATO’s Camp Bastion in southern Afghanistan, which came under attack earlier this month by Taliban fighters armed with guns, rockets and suicide vests.
In 2008 the prince was hastily withdrawn from Afghanistan after a news blackout broke.
The nude photos scandal was followed just three weeks later by a second furore over paparazzi photos of Harry’s sister-in-law Catherine, sunbathing topless while on holiday at a French chateau.