08/22/2012 at 11:30 AM EDT
It looks like what happens in Vegas no longer stays in Vegas – if you're royal.
, currently vacationing in the Nevada playground
, was caught in a compromising position – two, actually – during what is being described as a Friday night strip billiard game between friends in his VIP hotel suite.
In photos published on the TMZ website
, and believed to have been taken by one of the revelers, a completely bare Harry, 27, is shown cupping his privates as an apparently topless woman snuggles up behind him.
In a second photo, bare-backsided Harry gives a bear-hug to a woman who is also not wearing a stitch.
St. James's Palace has confirmed the photographs are of the third in line to the throne, but had no further comment, other than to note Harry "is taking some private time in the U.S," reported Wednesday's Today show
And while the Palace may not be commenting, plenty of others are – and not all of them negatively.
Royal biographer Ingrid Seward, editor of Majesty magazine
, tells the Telegraph
that the gaffe may not damage Harry's reputation in America, and suggests that people may even find it endearing.
"It's a bit cheeky, it's bloody silly and he should have known better – he has been caught before," Seward tells the newspaper. "But he has a love of life. He throws caution to the wind like no one else."
(To watch Today
's report – and see the racy Prince Harry photos – on a mobile device, click here