Prince Harry Naked Vegas Photos: Anatomy of a Royal Scandal

The events before and after his already famous Sin City indiscretion.

What Kate Middleton is to fashion, Prince Harry is to scandal. Year in, year out, they can be counted on to deliver the goods. The royal standards, if you will.

So, while Prince William's rugged rogue of a little brother is no stranger to a hidden camera lens or the unflattering pen of a tabloid journalist (to be fair, they've had ample time to hone their crafts thanks to Harry's nearly annual antics), but his lost weekend in Las Vegas has proven almost too much for even them to bear.

Harry, on the other hand, had no such problems baring all. Ahem. So, let's take a look back at how the naked truth about Harry became public fodder.

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Aug. 17, 2012: The regal has landed. Harry checks into the Wynn Encore Tower ahead of the night that will live in infamy. Though the world won't know it for a few days yet...

Aug. 18, 2012: Prince Harry is first spotted in Sin City, getting his feet wet at a star-studded pool party held at MGM Grand's Wet Republic. The royal kicked off the boys' weekend (he had about six or seven hangers-on in tow) dancing, joking and drinking. Counted among the fellow klieg light-worthy attendees: Jennifer Lopez, though by all reports, the famous pair never crossed paths. He did, however, cross paths with a bachelorette party (of course he did), and two of the revelers, Lauren and Monica Martirano, told Inside Edition that the prince was a "gentleman."

"We were speechless," Lauren said. "We just stood there with our jaws dropped." Monica added, "How many people can say they met and spoke to Prince Harry? This story can't be topped." Oh, but it could and did...

Later that night, he hit up another pool party, this time for a little more harmless fun. While at the Wynn Hotel's XS nightclub, he met up with none other than Olympian Ryan Lochte. And seeing as how it was 2 a.m. and Harry was no doubt feeling slightly, um, emboldened, he took it upon himself to challenge the gold medalist to an impromptu swimming race.

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Speaking later in the week, Lochte recounted his version of events on the Today show, saying that the duo--then both fully clothed, he stressed--went their separate ways after their duel in the pool. Though that wasn't the end of Harry's night, as the world now knows.

Aug. 21, 2012: Sometime in the evening the following day, the full extent of Harry's party weekend made itself known, as grainy presumptive cell phone photos of the royal showing off his crown jewels while in the confines of his private hotel suite made their way online. Cue worldwide giddiness. The photos showed Harry completely naked, but for one modest hand over, well, that, during a game of strip billiards. Which, judging by the state of his clothes-eschewing self, is not his game.

Aug. 22, 2012: What happens in Vegas in no way stays in Vegas, but it did somehow stay out of the U.K. The royal family gave their best puppy dog eyes and pretty-pleases to the British media, specifically requesting that they not run Harry's naked self in their pages or online due to the implied privacy violation that yielded the photos in the first place. They complied, to hilarious and creative results.

Meanwhile, celebs come out in support (and appreciation) of Harry and his physique, with Lady Gaga leading the online fray. "HOLY MOTHER HARRY LOOKS FIT," she tweeted. "Hope no ones mad at him for that, I'm certainly not." So speaketh Mother Monster, so speaketh the world.

Aug. 23, 2012: Bullet-dodging party pal Ryan Lochte sat down with Matt Lauer and revealed his thoughts on Harry's hairy situation--specifically as they pertained to him avoiding being painted by the same scandalous brush. "Kinda happy," he said. "I don't need that."

Aug. 23, 2012: British tabloid The Sun decides to run the Harry photo after all, setting it for their Friday edition with headline "Heir It Is!" headline and subtitle "Pic of naked Harry you've already seen on the Internet." Managing editor David Dinsmore explains to E! News, "For us, this is about the freedom of the press. This is about the ludicrous situation where a picture can be seen by hundreds of millions of people around the world on the Internet, but can't be seen in the nation's favorite paper."

Aug. 23, 2012: Though he made his way out of Las Vegas the morning after his naked partying ways (he was reportedly spotted in Los Angeles hours later, though a layover may explain that), E! News confirmed that the prince finally made his way back to London and was gearing up for quite a showdown.

Today, he could make his way up to Balmoral and get some face time (and likely a scolding for the record books) from Queen Elizabeth II and his dad Prince Charles before resuming his military service in the U.K.

Rank aside, we think he might find himself getting saluted a whole lot more these days.

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