Is a naked Prince Harry positive PR for the royals?

Prince Harry has once again created a public relations disaster for the royal family.. or has he?

For those of you that aren’t aware of what has been going on, here’s a really quick summary:

  • Prince Harry has been on holiday in Las Vegas with some of his friends.
  • After an evening of typical Las Vegas entertainment Prince Harry and his friends invited a group of girls that they had met, back to their hotel suite.
  • Prince Harry’s security made an error of judgement by not confiscating camera phones during a private party.
  • Prince Harry, his friends, and the girls party. High jinks occur, allegedly, including a game of strip billards.
  • The particular incident in question is when a naked Prince Harry is snapped by one of the girls at the party.
  • The photo shows Prince Harry naked apart from jewellery, covering himself.
  • The photo is then leaked or sold (I’m not sure which),  to US celebrity gossip site TMZ.
  • St James’s Palace contacts the press complaints commission to stop any British press publishing the pictures.
  • British press run the story but not the pictures.

Personally, I think the photos are completely inoffensive and probably quite typical of a 27 year old, single man on holiday in Las Vegas with his friends. More questionable  is how his security slipped up or perhaps the invasion of privacy that publishing them constitutes. It is even interesting that perhaps as a result of the Leveson inquiry, when the British press were asked not to publish the pictures in question, they didn’t. However, this isn’t what interests me most about this story though; what does, is the reaction by the public and, most importantly, the British public.

Prince William and Prince Harry

 

These are some of the ‘best’ or most liked comments from the piece in the Daily Mail.

Most liked comments about the naked Prince Harry PR scandal in the Daily Mail

Interestingly, these are some of the ‘worst’ or least liked comments from the same piece.

Least liked comments about the naked Prince Harry PR scandal from the Daily Mail

Both the most liked and least liked comments seem to support the view that, by and large,  the public are not only not offended by Prince Harry’s behaviour but in fact seem to think it perfectly normal. Given that we are currently living in an age where it is quite normal for teens, young adults and society at large to document their whole lives digitally using social media, I’m not that sure that this sort of behaviour is that shocking any more. In fact, to younger generations, it is perhaps an indication that Prince Harry is in many ways not that different from them (The debate as to whether documenting our lives in such a public way is a whole other discussion and one for another blog!)

So although Prince Harry did not release these pictures himself (and I’m not suggesting for a minute that would have been a good move), I certainly don’t think they have actually done any harm. On the contrary, they may prove to have connected the royal family to a generation of younger Britons. Prince William’s marriage to non-royal Kate Middleton I think had similar effects, although admittedly in a far less scandalous way!

This public acceptance of his behaviour means that potentially, Prince Harry could be the voice within the royals that connects them to a wider spectrum of society without damaging the image of the throne which his brother will eventually take.

It does make me wonder though if the public would be so forgiving if it had been a young Prince William in the same position, or whether being the heir to the throne it would have proven too much?

For those that want to see the original, head to the TMZ article.

For those that want read more, there’s plenty in the BBC article.

Article by Nathaniel Cassidy

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