If William is why we should stay a monarchy, Harry is…
There were starkly different reactions in Britain and Australia to pictures of his regal redness Prince Harry in naked frolic with a woman.
It had nothing to do with prudery.
The British and ourselves know that fornication has been a hobby of royalty for generations and certainly Harry could have learned a thing or two about a bit of below-stairs action from his father. Or his step-mother.
And it wasn’t because strip billiards is not a readily acknowledged English sport but a crass Americanism. Harry has done the world a favour in giving the game long overdue global recognition and the next step is publication of a rule book.
There is broad agreement on these matters.
The difference was that at home Prince Harry is seen as No3 in line to the British throne after the departure of his hugely regarded grandmother. That flavoured the London response to photos of his nude Las Vegas antics.
In Australia he is not considered a future national Head of State or even the brother of one. He is seen merely as yet another celebrity who can’t complain if caught on film mid-antic.
In Britain he is Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales. In Australia he’s crazy Harry.
So Australian news outlets on Wednesday published the pictures of the prince and his Las Vegas pals showing what’s under the royal robes. The story and illustrations were devoured as a fascinating piece of light news.
But in Britain the aggressive news outlets - the usually bold tabloid newspapers - held off. These are the outlets who in most other circumstances would be running garish spread with headlines about sinking the pink.
But there clearly was hesitance amid the aftershocks of the Leveson inquiry into journalistic practices and privacy issues.
Also, Harry is a likable bloke who has served his country in the military and is being groomed for a substantial role in The Firm. He stood in for the Queen during the London Olympics closing ceremony and generally has done a good job.
The royal family is among the few institutions recession-drained Britain can count on for quality service, a standard set by Her Majesty. Any indication that the quality drops off sharply with her grandchildren reflects on the reliability of that institution.
When the photos were finally run they caused sighs of regret rather than giggles. There were several furrowed-brow discussions about the standard of royal security, and the standards of Harry.
In Australia the importance of the Queen and her immediate relatives is not as great. Her Majesty remains popular but there is no direct connection with the youngsters.
This widely held attitude indicates that the prospect for a republican Australia could grow when the Queen is no longer with us.
Do we want a nude celebrity to be our Head of State?
Comments will close on this post at 8pm.
CORRECTION: For the record, news.com.au did not actually publish the Prince Harry pictures. The article has been amended to reflect that.
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