At 4am in Room 2401 of the Encore Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, the night is still young for party-loving Prince Harry. The luxurious two-storey suite on the 63rd floor offers stunning views of Sin City's famous strip, but a far more arresting sight is about to unfold inside.
After boozy a night out with the close friends he is holidaying with, his small group has rapidly swollen to 25 - including 15 attractive party girls they met earlier that night - and they have all ended up in Harry's palatial lodgings.
Having left the hotel's decadent Surrender nightclub half an hour earlier, no one, least of all the third in line to the throne, is in the mood to end the fun.
Admiring the billiard room in the £5,100-a-night suite, someone suggests: 'Let's spice up a game of pool.' He means 'strip pool'. The rules are if you pot a ball you take another shot; if you miss you take off an item of clothing.
Harry cannot wait. 'Let's ******* do it!' was his enthusiastic response according to someone who was there, who added. 'That was what jump-started the party.' Seconds later, Harry was really letting it all hang out.
Pulling up a petite blonde who had been making eyes at him, Harry was the first to play, cued off, did not pot - and so got naked straight away, it emerged yesterday as fuller details of the risque Friday night-Saturday morning frolics were revealed.
'He was just in his swimming shorts, he didn't have any underwear on,' a girl partygoer told The Sun. 'Everybody was watching when he took his clothes off. It was exciting for the girls. He was in great shape.'
Despite some 'hands-on' instruction from Harry on how to hold the cue, the blonde then missed enough shots to lose her dress and underwear. 'She had her eyes on Harry so she was going to do anything,' the source said.
A week on, grainy photos taken that night on a reveller's mobile phone are still causing shock waves. Their emergence on the US showbusiness gossip website TMZ led to Harry, 27, having to face the music at Clarence House and questions being asked about the conduct of his personal protection officers.
Two of them (fully clothed) were in the room, watched him being photographed by the drunken strangers but failed to take any action.
One photo shows Harry, bare bottom to the fore, hunched over his pool opponent from behind and holding a pool cue. Yesterday a source claimed this was an act of gallant behaviour rather than horseplay.
'He hugged her to cover her up,' she said. 'He went over to be the gentleman and said, "I'll shield you. I'll protect you. I won't let them see you". She seemed to like that very much. There were no complaints from her.'
The pool game over, they put their clothes back on, he offered her a beer and they sat on a couch talking before both 'disappeared' when the wild party finally came to an end at 5.30am, by when most of the others had gone to bed, the source said.
She added: 'He was very into her. She was giddy to be in the company of the prince and he was flirting with her. I don't know where they went but they disappeared at the same time at the end of the night.'
Another of the now notorious photos shows Army officer Harry, naked apart from a distinctive thong necklace and his Rolex watch, protecting his own modesty by cupping his hands over privates while a naked girl - believed to be the same girl he played pool with - hides behind him.
The unnamed witness said four men and two girls played strip pool while the rest watched, but one of the girls stopped before taking off any of her clothes.
The big night out had begun almost as soon as Prince Harry (or 'Harry Prince' as he jokingly called himself, by all accounts, during the trip) and his travelling pals, checked in to the 5,829 sq ft suite at the hotel last Friday following a trip to Sir Richard Branson's Necker Island.
It is believed the two friends who were with Harry in his suite were his Old Etonian pal Tom 'Skippy' Inskip and rugby player Adam Bidwell, a close pal of Harry's one-time rumoured love interest, television presenter Natalie Pinkham. Another friend on the trip was Arthur Landon, 30.
The suite, the biggest and most luxurious of the hotel's 16 duplexes, has three master bedrooms, its own private lift, butler service, a room with a massage table and gym equipment and, of course, that billiard table.
It boasts ceilings inlaid with mother-of-pearl, hand-blown glass chandeliers, whirlpool hot tub, 72in TV screen - and some of the walls are made from padded brown mohair, stuffed to absorb sound (just as well, as things got so raucous). After checking in through a private lobby in the late afternoon, Harry and his friends went to the SW Steakhouse to eat. Harry has eaten there before, in 2011, with the casino's owner Steve Wynn, who footed the bill for the prince's latest trip.
After eating, they visited the brightly lit Parasol bar, less than 20 yards from the restaurant and adjacent to the casino. Sources say this was around 11.45pm and Harry was already 'half-wasted', leading to claims that he was targeted in a 'honey trap'.
Trainee dental hygienist Kim Garcia, 22, from California, said: 'He made eye contact with a brunette in a group and immediately invited them all to join him and his buddies. We recognised him instantly, just like the other girls who were sitting a couple of tables away and getting noisier the more they drank.'
Miss Garcia, who was with hair salon receptionist Gloria Bryant, 24, also from California, added: 'Gloria and I clearly heard one of them say, "That's Prince Harry! Let's see if we can get him to take us upstairs with him".
'Once Harry showed an interest there was no way they weren't going to try to get their claws into him. It's a shame, really. You'd think he'd go for classier girls who are a bit more discreet.' Miss Bryant said: 'You have to think he is a bit of a dumb-ass for throwing all his clothes off and letting himself be photographed by a bunch of strangers.' From there, Harry and his party returned to his room briefly to change and then went to the Wynn's Surrender nightclub around midnight via the employee-only exit from the club, which meant he avoided walking through the masses in the club.
According to one hotel worker: 'They were quite tipsy. I was surprised to see them using that entrance and I recognised him and said, "Hello your highness" but Harry pretended it wasn't him and sort of gestured at one of his friends as if to say, "He's the prince, not me".'
The packed club is set around a pool, with four go-go dancers wearing tiny bras and bikini bottoms dancing on stripper poles to the thudding house music from a DJ. Mingling with the crowds dancing, drinking and chatting around the pool are women who openly approach single men.
It was there that the party girls struck, according to the source who ended up witnessing the strip pool session. And despite the security, it was alarmingly easy.
She told The Sun: 'We thought he looked hot. We wanted to get closer but couldn't as he was very well guarded. Everyone was dancing and we became friendly with one of his friends. In the early hours we were invited up to the room...
'No one asked for our phones or anything about us when we arrived at the party. It was obvious people were taking pictures.'
As for Harry, he was in ebullient mood. 'He loves Vegas. He said, "I always have a ******* good time. Look at this room",' the source said. Harry said he was excited at the prospect of meeting pop star Jennifer Lopez at a pool party the following day. The guest added: 'There was lots of music, lots of noise and excitement. There was no mention of him being a prince. He was up for whatever was going to happen that night.'
Speaking for the first time about the Vegas trip, Mr Landon yesterday insisted that none of Harry's friends would have been responsible for the photographs. 'I think it is really despicable that someone would accept Prince Harry's hospitality and then take these pictures,' he said. 'I know it has put a real dampener on everybody who was on that holiday. I wasn't in that hotel room so I don't know if one of those girls took the pictures.'
In the immediate aftermath, however, Harry's spirits were far from dampened. He apparently even managed to fit in a spot of gambling after the naked game of pool and before going to bed.
A witness at the casino said: 'He was playing craps with his friends. They were wasted. He was calling other punters at the table "muppets" and he joked to the dealer that he would kick his head in if he didn't win. He spent around US$120 and didn't win. Neither he nor his mates knew how to play.'
By 11am on Saturday, he was back by the pool ready to party again as his riotous 72 hours in Vegas continued. Whether he now stills harbours such love for Sin City remains to be seen.
- DAILY MAIL