Photographs that show Prince Harry cavorting nude in a Las Vegas hotel room were confirmed as genuine by Clarence House Wednesday.
The images, published in the US by celebrity news website TMZ.com, show the third-in-line to the throne standing naked in a hotel suite.
In one of the two photographs, he is standing, apparently wearing only a watch and a necklace, covering his genitals while another person, who also appears to be nude, stands close behind him.
In the other, he is bent over hugging a second person, who also appears to be naked.
Clarence House confirmed to AFP on Wednesday that the images were genuine. “At this time we don’t have a comment,” a spokesman told AFP, adding: “We may do later.”
It is rare for Clarence House to confirm the validity of such images, which raise questions about security surrounding the British royal.
The two images were taken at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas after a game of strip billiards last weekend, according to TMZ.
Video has also been published from the same trip that purports to show the prince racing US Olympic swimming gold medallist Ryan Lochte in the pool of a nightclub in the hotel.
Lochte, who was in Las Vegas belatedly celebrating his 28th birthday, told Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper that he was “surprised” Harry had challenged him to the race, which the swimming star won.
“He’s a great guy, and it was a huge honor to meet him,” Lochte was quoted as saying, adding: “I definitely wasn’t going to take it easy on him!”
It is not the first time Harry has taken on one of the world’s top sportsmen — during a Caribbean tour in March, he managed to beat sprinter Usain Bolt in a joke race.
Harry was in Las Vegas after hosting a charity event in San Diego. Known for his playboy reputation, in the last year he has distanced himself from that lifestyle.
He conducted a successful visit to the Caribbean and Central and South America earlier this year and in 2008 served with Britain’s armed forces in Afghanistan.
During the London 2012 Olympics he, along with his brother Prince William and sister-in-law the Duchess of Cambridge, acted as an Olympic Ambassador, and represented his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II at the closing ceremony.
On Tuesday, it was revealed that Harry went to the aid of a friend after he was mugged in London in November.
Thomas van Straubenzee was speaking to the prince on his mobile phone when the attack occurred. Harry drove to find his friend before encountering him at a local police station, where he gave a statement to police. The man accused of the mugging was found guilty on Tuesday.
[image via Agence France-Presse]