A copy of The Sun newspaper featuring a picture of a naked Prince Harry is seen in a shop in London August 24, 2012. The Sun tabloid on Friday published photographs of Prince Harry naked in Las Vegas, becoming the first British publication to defy a request from the royal family's lawyers. REUTERS/Toby Melville (BRITAIN - Tags: SOCIETY ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT MEDIA)

Lara De Matos

Tonight Editor

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. So says the maxim that has traditionally characterised Sin City, which has been relentlessly referenced since news broke of dear Harry’s latest high-jinks in a hotel room.

The British press were banned from publishing pictures of the young prince parading his crown jewels (though some defied the order), amid many a “tut tut” from monarchists who believe the third in line to the throne is single-handedly tarnishing the reputation of the royal family.

That this isn’t the first time Harry hasn’t behaved in the stiff-upper-lip-meets-hot-potato-in-one’s-mouth manner traditionally demanded of the sovereigns, has done little to help his cause.

But while words like “imprudent”, “duty” and “decorum” are being bandied about, the obvious question that has to be asked is: why all the affected shock and outrage?

As a public figure and member of a family that is, to all intents and purposes, representative of the English nation, many argue that Harry and his ilk are expected to conduct themselves in a manner befitting the royal household.

And that’s precisely the point. Although those once thought to have been allotted to their position in life by God would have us believe they are the model of morality, history tells a very different story.

A young bachelor’s naughty game of strip snooker with friends is small fry compared to the king who notoriously broke away from the Catholic church, simply so he could make his sideline gafoofaling with his mistress lawful (before he tired of her, had her beheaded and subsequently moved on to wives three, four, five and six, that is).

Then there’s the case of the “merry monarch”, as Charles II was nicknamed, whose hedonistic ways embodied the frivolity and decadence attributed to Restoration England, and who fathered more than a dozen illegitimate children while he was at it.

Edward VII – son of the famed Queen Victoria – also earned himself a reputation as a gambling and party-loving playboy, and one of his many mistresses was none other than Lady Randolph Churchill, aka Winston Churchill’s mama.

But Harry need not even climb that far up the family tree to discover that, far from being atypical, his approach to life is, in fact, the very epitome of true royal conduct.

Just ask uncle Andrew (also younger brother to the future king), who has repeatedly faced criticism for his pampered, jet-setting lifestyle, his questionable friendships and his predilection for former porn stars (Koo Stark, anyone?). Not to mention the ginger prince’s very own papa, who conducted a not-so-secret decades-long affair with the woman Harry now calls his step-mom.

So really, it could be argued he’s simply following in the family footsteps. Besides which, since the chances of him ever adding the title of “King” to his name are slim, he may as well make the most of being the brother who will never enjoy the respect (or responsibility) of being the sceptre bearer.

And hey, if life as a Windsor becomes too much to tolerate, at least the prince’s latest shenanigans have given him the option of becoming an adult movie pin-up, after he was offered the opportunity to star in his own porn film.

Now that would certainly bring a whole new meaning to the famed Dirty Harry role.