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Naked Prince Harry photos go viral

Embarrassing photographs of a naked Prince Harry "letting off steam" during a holiday in the US have been published on the internet.

The two pictures, including one of the prince and a woman in which they are both naked, were apparently taken on a camera phone as he was partying in a Las Vegas hotel suite while on an extended weekend break before embarking on the next phase of his military career.

But the blurred images, which were published by US-based celebrity gossip website TMZ, have already gone viral. They are believed to be the first intimate images published of a senior member of the Royal Family. But there is no suggestion that anything other than horseplay is going on between the royal and the unnamed woman.

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. An appeal had been made to the British media to respect the royal's privacy and not publish the pictures as they were taken during a private moment while Harry was on holiday.

In the first photograph, the royal is shown wearing just a necklace and a wristband with his hands around his genitals as a seemingly topless woman stands close behind him. The nude prince is shown in another picture shielding himself behind an unknown woman who is also naked, with his bare bottom facing the camera.

TMZ said the photos were taken last Friday. 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.

The pictures are the latest gaffe by the prince, whose past indiscretions include smoking cannabis as a teenager and scuffling outside a nightclub with a paparazzi photographer.

But although deeply embarrassing for the royal, there is unlikely to be any serious consequences for the prince. If any action is taken against Harry, it would be down to his commanding officer to make the decision.

The photographs of the naked royal come at the end of his eventful long-weekend break in Los Angeles and Las Vegas that was well documented in the British media. Singer Jennifer Lopez is thought to have met the royal as he wandered around a pool party event being staged at the MGM Grand hotel.

The fun-loving 27-year-old royal even challenged US swimmer Ryan Lochte, who won two golds at London 2012, to a race across a pool during the weekend, but lost. Harry is now believed to be on his way home to the UK.

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