In 1714, when George I of Hanover arrived in England to claim his new throne, he is said to have scandalised the court by landing at Greenwich with two German mistresses in tow. In 1861, Edward, the playboy Prince of Wales, on manoeuvres with the Grenadier Guards in Ireland, had his fellow officers smuggle an actress into his tent; Queen Victoria blamed her son's shameless behaviour for the death of her husband, Prince Albert. Thirty years later, Edward's son, the Duke of Clarence, was forced to pay £200 to a prostitute to secure the return of his love letters; meanwhile, Edward himself was embroiled in a gambling scandal, having been caught taking part in an illegal game of Baccarat. The British royal family has a history littered with hi-jinks and sexual shenanigans, all the way from Charles Stuart to Charles Windsor. Never before, however, has there been a documented case of a royal losing a game of "strip billiards".
Harry – party-loving prince, lord of the bantz, royal lad on tour – was captured on camera-phone last weekend, bear-hugging a bikini-less babe in a Las Vegas hotel suite and wearing nothing but a thong necklace and tan-lines. The pool cue in his hand and the table nearby betray the fact that he'd just been engaged in a round of the aforementioned game, the rules for which are as follows: every time a ball is potted, the player's opponent must remove an item of clothing. The more balls you pot, the more balls you spot. (Or boobs. You get the gist.)
Given that Harry had been photographed earlier at the hotel pool, in swimming togs and a hat – ie a mere two items of clothing – he must either have supreme confidence in his billiards-based abilities, or be more than willing to strip to his birthday suit in front of what TMZ, the American website responsible for publishing the pictures, described as "a bunch of hot chicks". Once can only imagine how irate Alison Jackson, reigning queen of saucy spoof photographs, must feel. Harry's antics are a darn sight racier than any of her mocked-up fantasies of The Firm.
Some media outlets, notably The Daily Mail, suggested the yet more scandalous possibility that this was not a game of "strip billiards" at all, but of the sport's more straightforward cousin, "naked billiards".
Another full-frontal nude image also emerged, in which Harry preserved his modesty only by his cupping his Prince William in his hands.
In the past, the Queen's grandson has smoked cannabis, tussled with the paparazzi, hung out with Kanye, hustled Usain Bolt, swaggered in a manner slightly at odds with his position as third in line to the throne (see pictures, above) that were taken earlier this week) and been linked romantically to at least one of The Saturdays. In lieu of an actual sex tape, these revealing images of Harry complete his qualifications as the King of Celebrity – the Fresh Prince, if you will.
And in the age of the fame game (not to be confused with strip billiards), that makes him the most relevant royal of all.
Dat's Da Way HRH Rolls
Harry's poolside swagger has been the subject of hot debate on the Trending desk. Is he attempting a gait often seen in hip-hop videos, known as the "pimp roll"? (The term coined by Tom Wolfe in Bonfire of the Vanities to describe the loping walk of urban males). Or is he just trying to avoid bashing into the bikini-clad young ladies who seem to be impeding his route to the billiards table?