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Prince Harry’s Naked Army refers to a Facebook photo fad that began with members of the British armed forces stripping naked or to their underwear and offering a military-style salute in support of British Prince Harry of Wales.
On August 21st, 2012, celebrity gossip site TMZ released nude photos of Prince Harry of Wales, the third-in-line for the British throne, playing strip billiards while on vacation in Las Vegas, Nevada. The story was subsequently picked up by many mainstream news sources, including CNN, The New York Times and The Huffington Post among others. The photographs were met by mixed reactions, with TMZ’s poll revealing that 65 percent of 208,002 readers found the photo to be “awesome” rather than “disgraceful,” while The Guardian speculated that the royal aids may urge the British media not to republish the photographs in respecting the prince’s privacy.
Shortly after the TMZ post began to spread online, former Royal Marine Lee Kirton and former member of the King’s Royal Hussars Jordan Wylie created a Facebook group page entitled “Support Prince Harry with a naked salute!” The page asked supporters of Prince Harry to salute the Prince in the nude but to “cover your crown jewels” when sending in photos. As of September 4th, 2012, more than 35,600 people have joined the group and at least a hundred photos have been submitted to the group.
Soon, supporters of the often controversial Prince Harry began posting semi-nude pictures of themselves via Twitter and Tumblr with the hashtag #Salute4Harry. On August 22nd, a fan page for the photo fad was created on Facebook, gaining more than 2,647 likes in the span of two weeks. On August 26th, five days after the inception of the Facebook fan page, Kirton and Wylie started a separate website for the fad titled Salute4Harry. They noted that in those five days, the Facebook group gained more than 26,000 supporters as well as 25,000 additional requests pending approvals. Furthermore, the two former British military servicemen launched a fundraising site in the name of Salute4Harry with a promise to to donate any proceeds to Walking With the Wounded, a charity designed to assist wounded veterans and their families that has been supported by Prince Harry himself. On August 28th and 29th, selected photos were featured on the The Huffington Post, Yahoo News, MSN,TIME Newsfeed, the New York Daily News, the Los Angeles Times and HLN:
On September 2nd, 2012, British news site The Telegraph published an article entitled “Army anger as troops strip naked in support of Prince Harry.” An anonymous source told the site, “Everyone sees the funny side but there are people at senior levels in the Army who do not consider this to be appropriate. They will be thinking ‘Does this really shows us in the professional light we want to be seen in?’” The Telegraph article also predicted that the “Prince is expected to be reprimanded when he returns to the Army Air Corps in a few weeks time.”
The New York Times – For Prince Harry, Vegas Exploits Didn’t Stay There / Posted on 8-23-2012
The Huffington Post – Prince Harry Nude Pics Surface From Las Vegas Trip / Posted on 8/21/2012
US Weekly – Prince Harry Supports Wounded Soldiers’ Attempt to Climb Mount Everest / Posted on 8-27-2012
The Huffington Post – ‘Naked Salute’ To Prince Harry Facebook Page Has Supporters Stripping Down In Solidarity / Posted on 8-29-2012
MSN – Soldiers go commando, with a naked salute to fab Prince Harry / Posted on 9-2-2012
Time NewsFeed – Attention! British Troops Unveil Nearly-Naked Salutes for Prince Harry / Posted on 8-29-2012
The Telegraph – Army anger as troops strip naked in support of Prince Harry / Posted on 9-2-2012
Los Angeles Times – Prince Harry pics draw a flood of complaints -- and naked salutes