Rupert Murdoch says critics should 'give Prince Harry a break'


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The Independent Online

Rupert Murdoch has sympathised with Prince Harry in the wake of the royal's naked photograph controversy, urging critics to give him "a break".

It comes after the media mogul's tabloid newspaper The Sun became the first British publication to print the embarrassing images of the prince taken during a party weekend in Las Vegas.

News International owner Mr Murdoch took to his Twitter account to show his support for Harry.

He wrote: "Prince Harry. Give him a break. He may be on the public payroll one way or another, but the public loves him, even to enjoy Las Vegas."

More than 850 complaints have been made to the press watchdog about the naked photographs of the 27-year-old prince frolicking in the nude with an unnamed woman after they were published in Friday's edition of The Sun.

Nearly all are about invasion of privacy and are to be investigated in due course.

It has been reported that Mr Murdoch, 81, ordered newspaper bosses to publish the images because he wanted to fire a warning shot at Lord Justice Leveson, the man leading the inquiry into press standards in the wake of the phone hacking scandal. News International has refused to comment on the speculation.

The Murdoch-owned tabloid argued that printing the images was in the public interest and a "crucial" test of the country's free press.

TMZ, the celebrity gossip website which first published the pictures, said they were taken last Friday after Harry 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 images of the naked prince on a camera phone.