Britain's most prominent public relations guru said Friday he'd been approached by two women who want to sell their photos of Prince Harry, suggesting that the world may soon be seeing more of the unusually exposed British royal.
In comments to BBC television, Max Clifford said he had been approached by two American women who claim they were in the prince's hotel room in the U.S. last week. Clifford, a savvy operator famous for negotiating kiss-and-tell interviews, said the women were trying to sell their photographs - but that he had turned them down.
"Two people at that party came to me and asked me, would I represent them? Would I sell their photos?" he said. "I said 'no.'"
Harry was photographed romping in the nude during a party at his Las Vegas hotel suite. The pictures - published by celebrity gossip site TMZ earlier this week - have caused a global stir. Many Britons have laughed off the 27-year-old prince's hijinks, but questions have been raised about the prince's publicly-funded security detail.
On Thursday, TMZ claimed that "several girls" had taken pictures at the party using their cell phones as the party got started and that "more photos were taken" after the clothes came off. Neither TMZ nor Clifford has made clear whether they believe the unreleased photographs show the prince in the nude.
Clifford has been a key player in many of Britain's biggest tabloid scandals, but said he turned the women away because he could not justify the sale to himself. British publications have largely steered clear of the photographs, with the prominent exception of Rupert Murdoch's The Sun tabloid, which became the first paper to splash the pictures across its front page on Friday with the words: "HEIR IT IS!" and marketing the grainy photograph as a "souvenir printed edition."
The paper said it had defied the wishes of the royal family because there was a public interest in knowing what the prince - who represented the queen at the 2012 Olympic Games and is heavily involved in charity work - got up to abroad.
Privacy lawyer Chris Hutchings said that the paper's public interest argument could have traction.
"The public interest argument is on the basis that Prince Harry represents this country around the world and the photos bring into question his suitability to act as a British ambassador," Hutchings said, although he added: "The Sun have taken a calculated risk in publishing the photos given their inherently private nature."
Elisabeth Murdoch, Murdoch's daughter, said she supported The Sun's decision.
Speaking at the International Television Festival in Edinburgh, the Scottish capital, she said she felt bad for the prince, but that the photos were already all over the Internet.
"It would be very sad if we lived in a world where we can't publish that picture," she said.