LONDON – A friend of Prince Harry who was on his infamous Las Vegas party trip said Saturday the person who leaked naked photos of the British royal was “despicable” and had abused Harry’s hospitality.
Film-maker Arthur Landon, 30, described by The Daily Telegraph as one of Britain’s richest young men, told the newspaper that the incident “put a real dampener” on the trip to the US gambling resort.
The pictures of Harry, third in line to the throne, surfaced on US celebrity news website TMZ, but were then published worldwide — although not initially by British media.
Rupert Murdoch’s British tabloid The Sun broke ranks on Friday, publishing the photos and saying it was “ludicrous” that British newspapers should not print images that had already been seen by hundreds of millions online.
In one photo taken in his suite, Harry, 27, can be seen cupping his genitals while standing in front of what appears to be a naked woman. In the other he is naked and bear-hugging a woman from behind.
“It is really despicable that someone would accept Prince Harry’s hospitality and then take these pictures,” Landon told The Daily Telegraph.
“It has put a real dampener on everybody who was on that holiday.
“Some people have been hinting that it was one of his friends who took the pictures. But that is absolutely not true. None of his friends would ever do that. We are really careful.
“I wasn’t in that hotel room so I don’t know if one of those girls took the pictures, although I was there on the holiday.
“A lot of people have been left really disgusted to think that someone would have gone into Harry’s hotel room, taken those pictures and then released them to the world.”
The situation could worsen for Harry as yet more pictures are said to exist of the army attack helicopter pilot.
Prominent British publicist Max Clifford told BBC television that he had turned down two different American women who had telephoned his organisation.
“They’ve already done it and I’ve said no,” he said, adding that he felt the pictures amounted to an invasion of privacy.
“I’ve had two people at the party approach me, would I represent them and would I sell their photos.”
More than 850 complaints have been made to Britain’s press watchdog about the pictures published in The Sun.
The Press Complaints Commission said they all came from members of the public and none had come from St James’s Palace or any other representatives of the royal.
Nearly all of the complaints are about invasion of privacy and are to be investigated in due course.