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Prince Harry’s royal protection officers cannot intrude into his social life, Britain’s most senior police officer said today.

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Metropolitan Police commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe was speaking in the wake of pictures being published showing the royal naked in a hotel room in Las Vegas.

He told MPs that police protecting high profile individuals cannot cross “the golden line” by getting involved in their personal life.

Mr Hogan-Howe was questioned by Commons Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Keith Vaz about the naked photographs.

The commissioner said: “We’re already in the process of reviewing that particular incident. Our role is to maintain the security of our protected individual. They have to lead a normal life and we have to strike a balance between intrusion into their life and keeping them safe.

“There is a golden line that cannot be crossed, which is getting involved in the social lives of the principals.”

He added: “There was nothing inappropriate and what appeared in photographs to be wrong was not as appeared.”

The pictures, first leaked on an American gossip website, showed Prince Harry with an unnamed naked woman during a Las Vegas holiday. One shot showed the royal holding his genitals and another featured him with his bottom exposed.

The only British newspaper to print the pictures was The Sun, in defiance of a request by St James’s Palace via the Press Complaints Commission (PCC).

The watchdog has since said that it would be “inappropriate” to open an investigation into the publication of the shots, because Prince Harry’s representatives had not made a complaint.

Prince harry is currently on a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

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