Palace anger at newspaper's three-year-old pictures of Harry

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The Independent Online

The Sun was yesterday forced to defend its publication of a picture of Prince Harry fondling a woman in a nightclub after it emerged that the photograph was three years old.

The paper, which has scored several royal scoops based on embarrassing pictures of the Prince, said that the photograph of Harry kissing a blond friend with his hand on her breast had been taken this summer in a London nightspot, Boujis.

Clarence House said the photograph, accompanied by the headline "Dirty Harry", was taken in 2003 at another nightclub, Purple, in the basement of Chelsea Football Club. The nightclub has closed.

Royal aides pointed out that the age of the picture meant it had been taken before the 21-year-old prince met his current girlfriend, Chelsy Davy. The Sun had said that Ms Davy was not in the picture because she was abroad.

A spokesman for Clarence House said: "We have contacted The Sun and asked them to make a correction."

Aides added that the photograph had not been printed with the permission of its owner, Natalie Pinkham, a presenter for a poker television channel and the friend pictured with Harry.

The Sun said it was re-examining its claims for where and when the photographs were taken.