Pictures of the queen’s grandson Prince Harry cavorting naked with a nude young woman appeared on a U.S. gossip website and subsequently across the world, with one notable exception —Britain.

One tabloid did publish the controversial images on Friday. The Sun became the first British paper to run the naughty images, along with the headline “Heir It Is.”

“… there is a clear public interest in publishing the Harry pictures, in order for the debate around them to be fully informed. The photos have potential implications for the Prince’s image representing Britain around the world,” the article accompanying the photos states.

Reeling from a judge-led inquiry into press ethics, which has publicly revealed the “dark arts” of once-feared British tabloids, not one newspaper dared risk upsetting the authorities by printing the “private” photos of Harry.

The story was splashed across the front pages of British papers, although none carried the photos first published by the TMZ website and now widely available on the Internet after they spread like wildfire across social media sites. The Sun tabloid came closest by carrying a mocked-up photo using their features picture editor and an intern in place of Harry

Former editors and media commentators said the Leveson  inquiry’s dissection of newspapers’ unsavoury tactics, had effectively neutered the British press.

“I have no doubts at all that 15 months ago those pictures would have been in these newspapers. Today, no. And I think the idea that decision, an editors decision making has been taken away, because of fears of over Leveson is not healthy,” said Neil Wallis, a former deputy editor of the News of the World newspaper.

The pictures of Prince Harry were captured on a mobile phone by one of the guests he had invited up to his hotel suite at a Las Vegas hotel. One grainy snap showed Harry, third in line to the British throne, covering up his genitals with his hands while an apparently naked woman hides behind his back. The other pictured the naked 27-year-old clinging to a nude woman from behind.

The royal family approached the Press Complaints Commission pointing out that the pictures were taken in private in a private room and therefore should not be published in Britain.

One London man disagreed: “If he does that sort of thing, why can’t the media or the papers print it because that’s what he’s done, so why can’t they do that?”

But others thought Harry was entitled to privacy.

“I think it’s pretty fair enough, I mean he is a member of the royal family, I think the British media are silenced by a lot of things to do with the royal family, so I don’t think it is particularly different,” one woman said.

Some are now questioning how Harry’s personal protection team allowed such pictures to be taken.  

Ken Wharfe, a former royal protection officer, said while security should not judge, they perhaps should look to protect Harry’s image more.

“Should it be the responsibility of his security to take these phones? I would say at this point probably yes, because there is a history here involving Harry. …they should have been stopped at the door of a hotel room, or whatever, and those phones confiscated, knowing only too well that there is a real chance of something like this happening,” he said.

As for Harry himself, he is now back in Britain awaiting deployment as an Apache helicopter pilot in the army.

Born on Sept. 15, 1984, Prince Harry has, like his brother Prince William, lived his whole life in the public eye.  

Often seen as the cheekier of the two brothers, Harry is at ease in front of the cameras.

Earlier this year, Harry toured Jamaica, Belize, Bahamas and Brazil, on behalf of the Queen in her Diamond Jubilee year.

In Jamaica Harry delighted crowds by racing against the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt, who kindly let the prince cross the finish line first, before the pair struck Bolt’s trademark lightning pose. He later danced raunchily at a children’s charity event in Kingston, before blushing and sitting back down. In Brazil he joined in beach rugby, throwing himself into the game.

Harry has been dubbed in the media as the ‘party prince’ and he’s had some scrapes in the past, including a gaffe dressing as a Nazi for a fancy dress party and admitting he had smoked cannabis.

His PR team is more keen to promote Harry’s considerable charity work and army service to combat this negative image.

In 2008 his secret tour of duty to Helmand Province in  Afghanistan was cut short after a media blackout was broken.

Harry is well known for his charity work supporting wounded soldiers. He’s an active supporter of the Walking With The Wounded charity and he joined wounded soldiers in their trek to North Pole to raise money for veterans.