Wild Harry gets wilder, wildest
Prince Harry's naked antics in a Las Vegas hotel room took his reputation as a party animal to new heights.
However, his exuberant weekend in Sin City was preceded by what appears to have been an even wilder, tequila-fuelled week in the British Virgin Islands.
The 27-year-old and a group of friends, including Arthur Landon, Tom "Skippy" Inskip and Cressida Bonas, his most recent girlfriend, spent a week on Sir Richard Branson's private island of Necker celebrating the 27th birthday of the Virgin tycoon's son, Sam.
And, according to the photographs they posted online, the group had only one intention: to party until they literally could not stand.
Landon, 30, who inherited more than £200-million (R2.6-billion) on the death of his father, Brigadier Tim Landon in 2007, offered friends a look inside his suitcase as he packed for his trip.
The suitcase included Captain Britannia and storm trooper costumes, a gas mask and what appeared to be a purple bong.
The accompanying caption read: "2 x flip flops, 3 x board shorts, 8 x fancy dress outfits, 1 x toothbrush, 1 x toothpaste, 10 x awesomeness .," he wrote. "Let the good times roll, let em roll, let em roll!!!"
Three days later, having flown out first-class, the party was clearly in full swing.
Landon posted a new picture on Facebook of one of the group, who was wearing a pair of Bermuda shorts similar to those worn in Vegas by Prince Harry.
The picture of Harry, who had apparently passed out in the sand, was captioned: "The perfect start ."
A friend, Rory Hoddell, joked: "Damn you, jet lag!"
And Dan Philipson, Prince Harry's friend who dated Chelsy Davy after her split from the prince, commented: "That is funny as fark!"
Bonas, 23, a Leeds University graduate and the daughter of 1960s cover girl Lady Mary-Gaye Curzon, also offered a glimpse into the group's raucous week. She uploaded a photograph of herself wearing a bright yellow bikini top and neon pink shorts, and a matching pink wig.
She appears to be sitting in a beach bar with Charlotte Kennington Courtauld, and has the word "Sam" daubed on her arm in pink paint, illustrated with a pink heart.
Though many members of the group returned to London following the alcohol-fuelled week, a handful, including the prince, Landon and Inskip flew on to the US where they continued to let their hair down.
Hours after arriving in Las Vegas, the prince and four male friends hired a cabana at Surrender, a vast open-air nightclub based around a pool at the Wynn Encore hotel where he was staying.
The cabana had a view across the pool on one side and a balcony on the other side overlooking the Las Vegas strip. It was about 10m from a back entrance to the VIP section of the Encore hotel where the prince's R65000-a-night suite was located.
A woman who was close to the prince's cabana said: "He was super nice, a gentleman.
"He poured me a jugerbomb [a Jugermeister cocktail]. He was with friends, there were five of them, all men."
At about 3am, the prince invited a group of girls up to the suite where the infamous pictures were taken.
Prince Harry is understood to have returned to his army base in Suffolk this week before being summoned to Clarence House yesterday for talks with aides.
Prince Charles and the queen are on their annual summer break at Balmoral.
GIVE HARRY A BREAK, SAYS MAN WHO PRINTED PICS:
RUPERT Murdoch said Britain's Prince Harry should be given a break, days after his Sun tabloid in defiance of appeals from Royal lawyers, added to the 27-year-old's embarrassment by printing pictures of him cavorting naked in Las Vegas.
"Prince Harry; give him a break. He may be on the public payroll one way or another, but the public loves him, even when he's enjoying Las Vegas," Murdoch on Twitter.
The Sun, which is part of Murdoch's News Corp empire, broke ranks with the rest of Britain's press by publishing the grainy pictures on Friday.
It justified its move by saying, with pictures freely available on the Internet, the issue had become one of "freedom of the press".
Murdoch defended the decision: "Needed to demonstrate no such thing as free press in UK. Internet makes mockery of these issues. First amendment please," he tweeted, referring to the right to freedom of speech in the US Constitution.
Jeremy Hunt, Britain's minister for culture, media and sport, told BBC News he did not think the publication of the photos was in the public interest, but ultimately it was a decision for editors.
"Personally I cannot see what the public interest was in those (pictures)," he said yesterday.
"But we have a free press and I don't think it is right for politicians to tell newspaper editors what they can and cannot publish. That is a matter for newspaper editors."
The Independent yesterdaysaid Murdoch ordered the Sun to publish, to send a warning to Lord Justice Leveson, the judge heading an inquiry into media standards in the wake of a phone-hacking scandal at the now-defunct News of the World. - Reuters