LONDON Britain's royal family said on Friday it would not lodge a complaint with the country's press watchdog over the publication of photographs showing Prince Harry cavorting naked in a Las Vegas hotel room.
Pictures of the 27-year-old prince, third-in-line to the British throne, surfaced in August on a U.S. gossip website and were later published by the best-selling Sun tabloid - the only British title to run the photos.
Harry's office in St. James's Palace said the royals had decided not to pursue a formal complaint given the prince's current deployment in Afghanistan. It said it informed the Press Complaints Commission on Thursday.
By contrast, Harry's brother Prince William and his wife Kate launched a criminal complaint against the photographer who took topless pictures of her while the couple were on vacation in a French villa.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as the royal couple are formally known, were also seeking damages from French gossip magazine Closer, which first published the photos this month.
They have won an injunction banning the magazine from further publication and ordering it to hand the pictures over to the royal couple.
"Prince Harry is currently focused entirely on his deployment in Afghanistan, so to pursue a complaint relating to his private life would not be appropriate at this time and would prove to be a distraction," a statement from the palace said.
Harry, Queen Elizabeth's grandson, returned to Afghanistan this month to fly attack helicopters in the NATO-led war against Taliban insurgents.
"We remain of the opinion that a hotel room is a private space where its occupants would have a reasonable expectation of privacy," the palace said.
The naked photos proved an embarrassment for the family after a summer of well-received Diamond Jubilee celebrations to mark Elizabeth's 60 years on the throne and royal appearances at the London Olympics.
(Writing by Alessandra Rizzo, editing by Paul Casciato)