The Sun, a daily national tabloid newspaper published in the United Kingdom, is coming under fire after it displayed naked photos of Prince Harry across its front page on Friday with the words: "HEIR IT IS!"

The Sun was officially the the first UK paper to print the photographs  saying that it had defied the wishes of the royal family because there was a public interest in knowing what the prince was doing abroad, according to CBS.

The photos in question are of course those which recently surfaced that show Prince Harry completely nude during a reported game of strip billiards in a Las Vegas hotel suite. The photos were apparently taken in a room full of friends in his VIP suite on Friday night during a raging party.

David Dinsmore, managing editor of the Sun, said in a video on the paper's website that the decision to publish was not taken lightly, but the issue had become one of "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 favourite paper read by eight million people every day," Dinsmore said.

"This is about our readers getting involved in the discussion with the man who is third in line to the throne - it's as simple as that," he said.

While the photos were widely available on the Internet, not one British tabloid had printed them until Rupert Murdoch's The Sun. Privacy lawyer Chris Hutchings told CBS that the paper's public interest argument may hold water.

"The public interest argument is on the basis that Prince Harry represents this country around the world and the photos bring into question his suitability to act as a British ambassador," Hutchings told the news outlet, although he added: "The Sun have taken a calculated risk in publishing the photos given their inherently private nature."

Elisabeth Murdoch, Murdoch's daughter, told reporters she supported The Sun's decision.

From the International Television Festival in Edinburgh, the Scottish capital, she said she felt bad for the prince, but that the photos were already all over the Internet.

"It would be very sad if we lived in a world where we can't publish that picture," she said.