By KATIE NICHOLL and IAN GALLAGHER
24th March 2007
It is hardly behaviour becoming of a Prince. Emerging from his favourite nightclub after downing several "Crack Baby' vodka shots, Prince Harry stumbles spectacularly into the gutter.
Only seconds earlier he had lashed out at a photographer, chasing him through West London's late-night traffic and trying to shove him in the back.
Eventually, the 22-year-old Royal was helped back to his feet and into a waiting Range Rover, which sped off with one of its doors still open and Harry's mentor, former Welsh Guards captain Mark Dyer, hanging on to the seat in front of him for dear life.
The extraordinary scenes were played out just after 3am on Saturday after the Prince had spent a night inside his favourite haunt, Boujis in South Kensington.
Prince Harry stumbles spectacularly into the gutter
At the same time, 100 miles away, his brother Prince William was dancing on a nightclub podium after drinking pints of strong lager with his Army pals.
But Harry had not been drinking with comrades from the Blues and Royals, with whom he is about to embark on a tour of Iraq, nor his girlfriend Chelsy Davy, but his close friend Natalie Pinkham.
One explanation for his outburst is that he had spotted the photographer he believes caught him leaving a flat in South Kensington in June last year.
Miss Pinkham was among those who had been with him that night, and was heard to say: "Harry, give us a kiss."
Yesterday, Miss Pinkham, a budding TV presenter, left through the club's main entrance to detract attention from the Prince, who left through the back.
Familiar with such tactics, however, photographers were covering both exits.
When Harry stumbled out, wrapped in a hat and scarf, he ignored the waiting car and instead gave chase to a paparazzo through the streets.
The pursuit ended only when the Prince's bodyguard grabbed him and tried to guide him back to the waiting vehicle, whereupon the unsteady Harry stumbled into the gutter.
Photographer David Vercillo who witnessed the event said: "It all happened very quickly. I don't know what Harry was on but he was clearly off his head.
"The photographer he lashed out at had taken a few frames when suddenly Harry just went for him and chased him into the middle of the road. It was incredibly dangerous.
"The Royal protection officer caught up with Harry, who pulled himself together and went back to the car. But he was clearly disorientated and the car had moved back a few yards.
"When Harry tried to get in, he tripped and collapsed on his ankle, flashing pink socks and pink boxer shorts. It wasn't very dignified.
"When he was finally in the car they sped off at such high speed one of the entourage hadn't time to shut the door and almost fell out the car."
A source at the club said:
"Harry turned up quite late with a group of friends. He was on very good form and clearly in the mood to let his hair down. Natalie Pinkham was there, as was Lord Freddie Windsor.
"Harry and his friends were being rowdy and at one point in the evening, they were at the main bar downing Crack Babies - which are shots of vodka, champagne, raspberry liqueur and passion fruit juice.
"They were very lively and enjoying knocking back the alcohol."
Miss Pinkham said: "I was at Boujis but I wasn't with Prince Harry. It's not a good time to talk right now."
Mr Dyer added: "Prince Harry wasn't drunk and neither was I. He was fine. He slipped when we left but he wasn't being aggressive or trying to start a fight with any photographers.
"We didn't see Natalie. She might have been there but I don't know."
The incident is likely to infuriate senior aides at Clarence House who have advised the Prince to stay away from the club.
A source said: "Harry can't stay away from Boujis, it's his favourite place in town. There's never any trouble inside the club, the problem is getting Harry past the scrum at the end of the night."
It is not the first time the Prince, has lashed out at photographers. Two years ago, one was left with a cut lip after a fracas outside Pangea nightclub, in which Harry was hit in the face by a camera.
A spokesman for the Prince said last night:
"Harry didn't make any aggressive moves towards the photographer, he fell over as he was leaving the club and everyone had a laugh about it."