Harry earned a reputation in his youth for being rebellious, leading the tabloid press to label him a “wild child”. He was seen at age 17 smoking cannabis and partaking in underage drinking with his friends, clashing physically with paparazzi outside nightclubs, and was photographed at Highgrove House at a “Colonial and Native” themed costume party wearing a Nazi German Afrika Korps uniform with a swastika armband. He later issued a public statement apologising for his behaviour.
In January 2009, the British tabloid, the News of the World, revealed a video made by Harry three years earlier in which he referred to a Pakistani fellow officer cadet as “our little Paki friend” and called a soldier wearing a cloth on his head a “raghead”. These terms were described by then-Leader of the Opposition David Cameron as “unacceptable”, and by The Daily Telegraph as “racist”, with a British Muslim youth organisation calling Harry a “thug”. Clarence House immediately issued an apology from Harry, who stated that no malice was intended in his remarks. Former British MP and Royal Marine, Rod Richards, said that such nicknames were common amongst military comrades, stating “in the Armed Forces people often used to call me Taffy. Others were called Yankie, Oz or Kiwi or whatever. I consider Paki as an abbreviation for Pakistani. I don’t think on this occasion it was intended to be offensive.”
While on holiday in Las Vegas in August 2012, Harry and an unknown young woman were photographed naked in a Wynn Las Vegas hotel room, reportedly during a game of strip billiards. The pictures were leaked by American celebrity website TMZ on 21 August 2012, and reported worldwide by mainstream media on 22 August 2012. The photographs were shown by the American media but British media were reluctant to publish them – royal aides suggested that Clarence House would contact the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) if the pictures were used by British publications. St James’s Palace confirmed that Harry was in the photographs, saying that he was essentially a victim whose privacy had been invaded, and contacted the Press Complaints Commission upon hearing that a number of British newspapers were considering publishing the photographs. On 24 August 2012, The Sun newspaper published the photographs.
Polls conducted in the United Kingdom in November 2012 showed Harry to be the third-most popular member of the royal family, after William and the Queen.