Rather than grovelling to Prince Harry over yesterday’s Dirty Harry lead and picture of him groping a girl’s breast, The Sun today is glorying in a follow-up which compares him to the most lecherous kings in English history. It reprints the picture.
The serious papers are full of anger at the use of a three-year-old picture and according to the Guardian, The Sun has apologised. The Telegraph says it “agreed to print a correction”. If it has, I can’t find it in today’s paper (see later note below) which has a front page blurb for a spread headed: “Is Harry the wildest prince in history?”
The Sun is not saying that the picture is old or how it came by it. But it does hint in the final paragraph of a comment under the byline of Arthur Edwards — “Royal’s favourite photographer” — which reads “But Harry must sort out his true and loyal friends from those who are just waiting to cash in and made a fast buck out of him.”
“Our H’s royal rivals” for the title of wildest prince are said to be King Edwy who left his own coronation to enjoy a threesome, Edward VIII who married Mrs Simpson, Henry V an outrageous boozer, George IV who snipped locks of hair from his lovers, and Charles II who fathered a small army of illegitimate children.
The Sun’s headline verdict on Prince Harry is: “We love his playboy ways.”
After yesterday’s front page, The Independent, says: “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.”
Leaving aside the issue of taste and whether any young man should be subjected to this sort of scrutiny, the issue is whether Sun, dissembled.
Later: I had missed The Sun’s apology. Thanks to the Press Gazette for finding it on page 6 under a 14pt APOLOGY headline. That is 12 pages away from its “wildest price” spread. I have made a small edit in the first paragraph.