Rioters ‘made physical contact with Camilla’

BRITAIN’S Home Secretary Theresa May confirmed yesterday that rioters who surrounded Prince Charles’ car during violent student protests made physical contact with his wife Camilla.

A mob of demonstrators who joined in Thursday’s protest against the hike in university tuition fees surrounded the car carrying the heir to the throne and the Duchess of Cornwall as they drove to a charity gala event.

A window on the Prince of Wales’ side of the car was smashed, while the back of the car was spattered with paint hurled at it. The vehicle was also kicked.

May said she had been in touch with the royal household about the incident.

Asked by Sky News about reports that Camilla had been jabbed by a protester through a window, May said: “I’m not sure about the term ‘poked with a stick’. I understand there was some contact made.

“This is an incident that needs to be looked at by the Metropolitan Police.”

She also questioned the use of the Rolls-Royce Phantom VI car, which has big, high windows allowing royals and the public to see one another clearly.

“Royal protection is a matter that is reviewed regularly,” May said. “One of the issues that may very well be looked at is the whole question of the appropriate transport that’s used.”

The car was a gift to Queen Elizabeth II in her Silver Jubilee year of 1977, but there has been criticism that it is too distinctive and not secure for regular use.

The royal couple’s Clarence House official residence said they were unharmed in the incident and were grateful for the police’s efforts.

The comments came as the inquest continued into the violent demonstrations over hikes in university charges that rocked central London last week.

Amid reports that Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson offered to resign after the chaotic scenes, Mrs May insisted she had not considered falling on her sword.

She also defended the “robust” police response to the disorder that saw dozens of officers and protesters injured, and more than 30 arrests made.

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