Is Prince Harry entitled to his taxpayer-funded ‘privacy?’ Publish and be damned!

Let’s face it, Prince Harry (third in line to the British throne) pictured playing strip billiards in a £5,100 a night suite in a Las Vegas hotel is a story by anybody’s standards – yours, mine, Lord Leveson’s, obviously Prince Charles’s as the first in line to the aformentioned throne has succeeded in preventing the mighty British media from publishing said pics, even though everybody else across the world has seen them.

Charles, in his inimitably pompous way, has claimed via his lawyers Harbottle & Lewis (aka Jarndyce & Jarndyce) that publishing the pics of the frisky prince is an “invasion of privacy.” But, hang on a minute, who’s paying for these high jinks in Las Vegas? The poor old British taxpayer, that’s who. And the fee includes Harry’s protection officers who cost £2m a year apparently, even though they can’t do much protecting (sans sidearms) when they’re sharing a jacuzzi with the playboy prince.

So why do the mighty British media skulk in their tents when the senior Prince waves a writ at them?

One reason is that the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics has knocked most of the fight out of them. The second is that, with a few honourable exceptions, they’re the most craven, forelock-tugging supporters of the monarchy even Prince Charles could hope for. ‘Gawd bless yer Ma’am’ is their usual response to our unelected ruler. ‘Old the front page Ma’am? It’s a diabolical liberty but if you say so, Ma’am,’ is the best they can muster at the moment.

Harry can do what he likes with his own money (only it isn’t).

But this whole absurd affair has caught the British media with its pants down too.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.