Naked photographs of Prince Harry playing "strip billiards" in a Las Vegas hotel suite are published on a US website.
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Clarence House has confirmed the authenticity of photographs, published by US website TMZ, which show a naked Prince Harry cavorting with a woman during a party in a hotel room in Las Vegas.
The woman, whose body is mainly hidden by that of the red-headed man, is also nude.
Clarence House confirmed Prince Harry was letting off steam in California over the weekend before he returns to the next phase of his military duties.
TMZ says these photographs are of the Prince during a "a game of strip billiards...in his VIP suite" at a Las Vegas hotel on Friday night.
St James' Palace asked the British media not to publish the photographs because they were taken in a private place where the prince had a reasonable expectation of privacy.
The pictures emerged shortly after the New York Daily News published video which claimed to show Prince Harry in a pool in Las Vegas racing US gold medal-winning swimmer Ryan Lochte.
Invited to hotel suite
The website claims that the pictures came after the prince and his entourage met some women in a hotel bar and invited them up to the royal's suite.
The group played a stripping game and someone in the party is thought to have captured the image of the naked prince on a camera phone.
St James's Palace confirmed it was Harry in the pictures but declined to comment further.
A source said the prince, an Army officer and Apache helicopter pilot, was just "letting off steam" before the next important phase of his military career.
The photographs of the naked prince come at the end of an eventful long-weekend break for the royal in Los Angeles and Las Vegas that was well documented in the British media.
Harry was filmed wearing a hat, sunglasses and colourful swimming shorts, socialising at a hotel pool party in Las Vegas as bikini-clad women strolled around him.
Singer Jennifer Lopez is thought to have met the royal as he wandered around the event being staged at the MGM Grand hotel.
Other royals have been photographed in compromising situations - most notably Sarah, Duchess of York who was pictured having her feet kissed by John Bryan in 1992 soon after she separated from her former husband the Duke of York.
As a younger man Harry was pictured leaving nightclubs and once got into an altercation with a photographer outside a club, but his focus is now firmly on returning to frontline operational duties.
A source stressed that the naked pictures had been taken during Harry's personal break from work: "He's been in LA on a private holiday over the weekend. He's been letting off steam before the next phase of his military career."