The 20-year-old royal, who has tried to shed his wild reputation after dabbling with cannabis, is alleged to have clashed with the 24-year-old man outside the exclusive Pangaea members club in London’s West End.
Clarence House said Prince Harry, third in line to the throne, had pushed back after he was hit in the face by a camera - but the photographer Chris Uncle claimed the prince “deliberately lashed out”.
An eyewitness also claimed the prince was swearing during the altercation and had buried his head in his knees as his car sped away from the African-themed venue, a popular haunt for celebrities and Page 3 girls.
A Clarence House spokesman said Harry had been defending himself when the incident happened in Piccadilly at around 3am.
He added: “Prince Harry was hit in the face by a camera as photographers crowded around him as he was getting into a car.
“In pushing the camera away, it’s understood that a photographer’s lip was cut.”
Mr Uncle, who reported the incident to police but has yet to make a formal complaint, claimed that the prince jumped out of a car to attack him.
“He lashed out and then deliberately pushed my camera into my face. The base of the camera struck me and cut my bottom lip.
“At the same time he was repeatedly saying ‘Why are you doing this? Why don’t you just leave me alone?’.”
News of the scuffle comes just a week after new army recruit Harry was accused of cheating in his art A-Level exam.
He is believed to have been upset at claims by sacked Eton art teacher Sarah Forsyth that she helped him to pass. In an employment tribunal, Ms Forsyth’s lawyers revealed she secretly recorded a conversation with the prince and alleged he admitted he had done little towards the coursework. Clarence House described the claims as “incredibly unfair” and exam board Edexcel last week ruled there was insufficient evidence to reopen an inquiry.
The Prince’s visit to the upmarket Pangaea club follows a string of well-documented trips to other fashionable London nightspots.
His new career in the military is seen as part of efforts to leave behind his wild past and he was this year shown in a TV documentary caring for young AIDS victims in Africa.
In 2002 an underage Prince hit the headlines after he was seen drinking and smoking cannabis.