Prince Charles and Camilla Attacked by Riot Mob

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Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, react as their car is attacked by angry protesters in London

Matt Dunham/AP

As violence over sharp tuition fee hikes swept across London last night, protesters ambushed the car carrying Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.

Demonstrators spotted the royal couple in their purple Rolls-Royce as they were riding through London’s theater district surrounded by a cordon of motorcycles. A mob of around 50 demonstrators, many wearing full-face balaclavas, managed to shove through their police escort, which included armed royal security guards. They then hurled paint bombs at the car, kicked dents into its doors and smashed its rear window — all the while chanting “off with their heads!” and “Tory scum!”

(Read “William for King: Polls Want Charles Out and William In.”)

As part of the security detail, a Jaguar carrying officers tailed the Rolls-Royce. It was so battered and broken by the attack that police decided to use its doors as shields from the storm of projectiles, which included bags of trash, traffic cones, bottles and plastic barriers from road works.

Images broadcast on national television late Thursday night and photographs splashed across the front of British newspapers Friday morning capture Camilla’s horror. Dressed in a green evening gown and a diamond-encrusted emerald necklace, she drops her jaw, gasps and reaches for tuxedo-clad Charles. A rioter holding a metal bar can be seen outside of her window.

(See a photo album of British Royal Weddings.)

A spokeswoman with Clarence House, Charles’ office and official residence, said the pair emerged from the incident unscathed: “We can confirm that their royal highnesses’ car was attacked by the protesters on the way to their engagement at the London Palladium this evening. Both their royal highnesses were unharmed.” And despite the terror written on their faces, Camilla and Charles still attended a pre-Christmas variety show at which they were the guests of honor. Camilla emerged from the theater in seemingly good spirits. “First time for everything,” she said.

But this was no laughing matter: someone could have been killed. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, security analyst Charles Shoebridge said armed royal protection officers traveling with the couple would have considered opening fire had they perceived a threat to their passengers.

“This is a very serious incident. It ranks amongst the most serious security breaches of the past decade,” he said. “Some of the demonstrators yesterday were carrying petrol, specifically to use in arson attacks. If the can of paint had been a can of petrol, it would have been very different.”

(Read “Prince Charles Under Fire for $80,000 Train Ride.”)

Hours earlier, members of Parliament voted to triple annual tuition fees to £9,000 ($14,200), igniting a wave of discontent. Tens of thousands of students took to the streets and, among other things, set fires in Parliament square, smashed windows at the Treasury, and urinated on a statue of Winston Churchill. Officials have said publicly that the student marches attracted violent anarchists and gangs who came not to protest rising tuition fees, but to damage public buildings and harm the police. By mid-evening, Scotland Yard reported that at least 12 policeman had been injured, six of them seriously.

“Right-minded people, including peaceful protesters who wanted to make their point, will condemn what we saw today,” Sir Paul Stephenson, the chief of London’s Metropolitan police, said Thursday night. Prime Minister David Cameron has described the attack as “shocking and regrettable.”

(See pictures of Prince Charles.)

11 comments
alma7lou
alma7lou

But it's not a breakup it's an "ucoupling". Now for the real news, there are still many missing in the Washington mudslide.

guz
guz

What a joke. All the looks and money you could want and ten years is all you can manage?

DebFrant
DebFrant

If there are any traders out there trading the Forex I wanted to warn you don't waste your time I've been trying to make money with it for years! Go to the website Traders Superstore and get into trading the futures instead it's much better now I'm making money trading and very happy.

_Barack_Obozo_
_Barack_Obozo_

Just pray for the kids...look at the parents they have.

nevadasmith68
nevadasmith68

Oh,my God! I woke up early this morning,unable to sleep,wondering if this might happen. What in the world will we do now?

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

If they are breaking up so what. Is it that important ? Russia is about to invade Ukraine, freedom of religion is under attack in this country, a Malaysian airliner crashed under suspicious circumstances and Time which used to be a respected magazine covers the split up of two empty headed celebrities ?

aboutbebout
aboutbebout

"Hearts full of sadness..."  Now, what really happened?

cannibalofthetrees
cannibalofthetrees

Who knows what happens in their private life, but I can't help feel sorry for Martin. I'm sure she isn't as ideal as she seems, but she sure seems ideal. I wish them both the best.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@aboutbebout  Congress should appoint a special committee to investigate this. It could lead to unraveling of the Western civilization if not acted upon.