UPDATE---Monday April 16, 2012----ABC News is reporting late Monday that it is more than likely that the pistol aimed at photographers was a fake. In the video posted below, there is a still photo of Pippa Middleton and three men, one of whom is pointing what appears to be a firearm in the direction of paparazzi, following the group's Audi convertible in the city of Paris.
"The photographer says he knew all along the gun was a fake and has been telling people he never felt scared. Even friends of one of the young fashionistas in the car told ABC News today that they have the toy gun in their possession. Original story follows:
The UK Sun has exclusive photos (link to photos posted below) of Pippa Middleton, 27 sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, sister-in-law to Prince William, second in line to the British throne, enjoying herself in am Audi convertible with three other people.
A companion in the front seat along with Ms. Middleton has what appears to be a pistol, pointed back towards vehicles behind the converticle, with a grinning Pippa seeming to enjoy it all very much.
ABC's Good Morning America also covered the story this morning and legal correspondent Dan Abrams noted that France is still in the throes of mourning and shock from the murders in Toulouse only a few weeks ago. That full story, here.
It also conjures up images of Princess Diana and the car chase by paparazzi in the city of Paris that ended in a crash that killed the wife of Prince Charles, mother to Princes William and Harry.
Last month France was holding its collective breath for two weeks as a series of sniper shootings killed French military members and Jewish school children and teachers in the city of Toulouse.
The perpetrator Mohammed Merah, 23 a Toulouse resident of Algerian descent was found after an almost 24-hour standoff with police during which he told them of his motives to shoot and kill innocents. Merah was ultimately killed in a blaze of gunfire when he refused to surrender. Read about that, here.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, the country of France is in the midst of trying to deal with the issue of gun violence and how to keep something similar from reoccurring. It isn't surprising then that The Sun reported that Paris police are not treating Ms. Middleton's escapade as anything humorous or trivial.
"Three male chums were with her in an Audi convertible. The driver took out the weapon and brandished it in broad daylight.
He waved it in the air and pointed it at a photographer — whose snaps show the chilling moment the barrel of what looks like a semi-automatic stared straight down his lens"
“If the evidence points to her involvement, she will be prosecuted. Anybody involved in the illegal use of a handgun in public is liable to arrest and interrogation.”
Whether the weapon was real or a replica, there can be criminal consequences. Ms. Middleton's role in knowing of the gun in the car, whether it was real or fake and the intent to brandish it at the chasing paparazzi will all be examined by authorities.
Unfortunately for the British royal family, the Pippa incident will bring scrutiny and criticism. Duchess Kate will take a publicity hit despite her and William's exemplary behavior in public during the first year of their marriage.
Link to photos at The Sun, here.
Image: Wikimedia Commons