In this new late-licence era, it is no longer the final chime of midnight that signals clocking off time for magic and wonder: more often than not, it is 3am when the carriage turns into a pumpkin, the beautiful gown turns into a ragged velour tracksuit and the prince turns into a boorish squaddie on the lash.
Yes, Clarence House, home to Prince Charles, his good lady wife Camilla and Princes William and Harry, has had to deny yet another paparazzi scuffle involving the spare of our heir to the throne. Prince Harry has been accused of throwing punches at photographer Nirach Tanner while leaving his regular nightclub Boujis at the 3am magic hour, and the pictures of Harry stumbling and being helped to stand that have been printed in the Sunday papers seem to suggest that this is the case.
According to Tanner, the prince grabbed him, shoved him and had his hands on his collar and back when he emerged tired and emotional from Boujis. There was shouting and abuse. However, Clarence House has issued a statement that it was a classic case of tripping over and accidentally falling onto the photographer:
"He was out with friends and on the way out of the nightclub he stumbled on the kerb and fell on the photographer.There was no aggressive intent, they were laughing at it at the time."
This is a very common occurrence, if you ask any proctologist who has had to remove an unexpected object from the rectal region of a patient, who "tripped over and accidentally fell" onto it. Whoever is in the right in this particular episode of Rich Kid Goes to a Nightclub and Gets a Bit Rowdy, we'll never know or care because despite Chris Eubank's bizarre efforts to prevent it, Prince Harry will be leaving for Iraq with the Blues and Royals later this year and we'll be free of this non-news for a while. The only "Playboy Prince" nonsense we can look forward to then is when the paparazzi begin to miss their now regular Prince Harry column inches and start writing schadenfreude-tinged articles about the only source of fun the clubbing prince enjoys in the lonely long nightwatch in the desert.