msnbc.com news services
updated 4/8/2006 3:14:15 PM ET 2006-04-08T19:14:15

Prince Harry, the third in line to the British throne, celebrated the end of his military training with a visit to a lap dancing club, British newspapers reported Saturday.

Harry, 21, watched dancers at the Spearmint Rhino nightclub in Slough, southern England, during celebrations marking the end of a year of study at a military academy, the Daily Mirror said. The paper said Harry “sat with a stripper on his lap” after arriving at the club at 3 a.m.

The Sun newspaper—in a front-page story headlined “Dirty Harry”—said the prince and his friends swigged lager and ogled topless girls.

The office of Harry’s father and heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles declined comment.

“We have no comment to make on the matter,” said a spokesman for Clarence House, the office of the Prince of Wales, speaking on customary condition of anonymity in line with policy.

A Spearmint Rhino spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Harry, youngest son of Charles and the late Princess Diana, has courted controversy before with his behavior.

He apologized in January last year after wearing a Nazi uniform to a costume party and he has previously admitted smoking cannabis and underage drinking.

The latest reported escapade comes a few days before Harry will march in the traditional passing-out parade at Sandhurst in front of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth.

It also comes a day before Harry’s father Charles and his second wife Camilla celebrate their first wedding anniversary.

While the story caused a stir in the British media, some royal pundits rallied to Harry’s defense.

“It’s a pretty tough course (at Sandhurst) and they were celebrating, just having a nice time,” novelist Jilly Cooper, a friend of Charles and Camilla, told BBC News 24 television. “There’s nothing wrong with going to a strip club, It’s just a laugh, I think.”

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