Prince Charles' car attacked in British student demo
Prince Charles' car was attacked Thursday by demonstrators during a student protest in London, but he and his wife Camilla were "unharmed", his Clarence House residence said.
The heir to the throne, 62, and his 63-year-old wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, were travelling to a theatre in central London when their vehicle was kicked by demonstrators making gestures.
The rear passenger side window, where Charles was sat, was smashed and the car was smattered with white paint.
"We can confirm that Their Royal Highnesses' car was attacked by the protesters on the way to their engagement at the London Palladium," a Clarence House spokeswoman said.
"Both Their Royal Highnesses were unharmed."
Senior royals are always accompanied by a discreet but high security detail.
A student protest against a hike in university tuition fees, which has descended into rioting around parliament, has spread to other parts of central London after a vote on the proposals passed in parliament.
"Police completely condemn the outrageous and increasing levels of violence that some of the protestors are now involved in," Scotland Yard said in a statement.
"It has gone so far that a car in which the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were travelling through the West End was attacked.
"Police managed the situation and they were unharmed."
Police Superintendent Julia Pendry told reporters: "Some protesters were in the vicinity of Oxford Circus. Whether they were actually trying to have contact with the prince we are unsure of.
"There was a problem with his car, people making some gestures to him and kicking his vehicle."
One man who declined to give his name told the BBC he witnessed the incident.
"I saw Prince Charles in his car get attacked," the man said.
"A couple of people were kicking the door... the car got kicked pretty severely."
Charles and Camilla were heading to the London Palladium to watch the annual Royal Variety Performance, a gala evening attended by senior royals.
All proceeds go to the Entertainment Artistes' Benevolent Fund, which provides care and financial help to members in need.
They were set to enjoy an evening of music, dance and comedy at the theatre, which is just off Oxford Street, London's main shopping thoroughfare.
Inside Charles smiled as he was was introduced to celebrities including Australian singer Kylie Minogue and British band Take That.
Among the other performers at the Palladium were tenor Russell Watson, singer Cheryl Cole, comedians Michael McIntyre and John Bishop urban trio N-Dubz and Spellbound, who were double gold medallists at this year's Acrobatic Gymnastic Championships.
Physical attacks on the royals are extremely rare.
A student fired two blank shots from a starter pistol at Charles during a visit to Australia in 1994, but he was unruffled by the incident as the man was bundled to the ground.
His sister Princess Anne escaped a kidnapping attempt in London in 1974, in which several people were shot.
Six blanks were fired at their mother Queen Elizabeth II from close range during a 1981 parade but she managed to remained in control of her horse during the attack.
© 2010 AFP