Is Prince Harry’s Strip Poker Scandal Really So Bad?

OK, so the web has been abuzz with news of Britain’s wild child, the fiery ginger Prince Harry, and his recent all-nude Vegas review. We agree that it looks pretty bad (and yes, we just linked to TMZ. Now we feel like taking a long, hot shower).

But is this incident really a big PR problem for the royal family? The British public seems to turn to them for entertainment in tough times, and the royals occasionally make concerted efforts to showcase their sillier side. So certain, uh, slip-ups might actually make them more relatable, especially in the land that invented tabloids and reality TV. Despite their history, the Brits do sometimes manage to keep it classy: their mags have refrained from publishing the nude photos themselves at the request of the royal family’s PR team. Color us surprised.

But this is really just another day in the life of the crown. Our trivia-minded friends at Mental Floss remind us that the royals have seen far worse:

  • George IV married his longtime lover, a Catholic commoner, in a secret ceremony (it was illegal at the time for Catholics and Protestants to wed), but later abandoned her and their many children to marry a princess at the insistence of his father, the king.
  • George VII was a noted philanderer, reportedly sleeping with thousands of women. Victoria even claimed that Prince Albert died of shock and stress after learning of George’s teenage encounter with a prostitute.
  • George the Duke of Kent was a bisexual drug addict who died in a fiery plane crash at 39 (allegedly while flying drunk).
  • The queen of all prudes, Victoria, was widely believed to have had an affair with a Scottish servant in her later years, and magazines weren’t shy about discussing her dalliance. She commissioned a statue of the man after his death and requested to be buried with both a photo of him and a lock of his hair!

That list doesn’t even include the very public dissolution of the (arranged) marriage between Prince Charles and Princess Diana, which is another can of worms altogether.

The press on both sides of the Atlantic will continue to spank Prince Harry for a few more days, as it did when he decided that a Nazi uniform would make for a great Halloween costume. But we feel like he’ll be fine in the long run. In case he ever finds himself in a tough spot, he can just follow friend and fellow genius Ryan Lochte to reality TV fame!

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