PARIS — A French aristocrat said on Wednesday he had apologised to Pippa Middleton after a toy gun was pointed at paparazzi from a car driving the royalty celebrity around Paris last weekend.
The incident sparked an uproar in Britain where The Sun newspaper printed photos showing the younger sister of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, riding in a convertible car as its driver appears to produce a gun and take aim.
Arthur de Soultrait, a French viscount and fashion designer, said in a statement sent to AFP the gun-pointing incident was a joke gone wrong, and that he had apologised to Philippa Middleton.
By way of explanation, he said Middleton "had been subject to constant and dangerous harassment by paparazzi throughout her time in Paris," and was being followed by photographers when the incident occurred on Saturday.
"The car was being driven by a friend of mine, whom Pippa had only met a few hours before," said de Soultrait, who invited Middleton to Paris for a fancy dress birthday party on the theme of "18th-century decadence".
"As a joke, my friend brandished a toy pistol in their direction. Obviously Philippa had no idea that he was going to do that and told him to stop immediately. She did not find it funny," de Soultrait said.
"I regret enormously that this incident happened, and especially that Pippa has been subject to the subsequent attention through no fault of her own. I have apologised to her for this."
Contacted by AFP, Paris police denied reports they were investigating the incident, or that anyone had pressed charges -- though a police source did say the department was swamped by telephone calls from British media chasing the story.
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