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Student Protesters Made Physical 'Contact' With Prince Charles, Camilla During Attack On Car, UK Says

JILL LAWLESS   12/12/10 09:05 AM ET   AP

Charles Camilla Attacked

LONDON — Student protesters made physical contact with the wife of Prince Charles during an attack on the couple's car that has sparked a review of royal security, a British government minister said Sunday.

Home Secretary Theresa May told Sky News that "there was contact made," although she would not confirm reports Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, had been poked with a stick through an open car window.

The prince's office also declined to comment, but stressed that the royal couple did not seek medical help after Thursday's altercation.

Officials are assessing royal security after the attack on Charles and Camilla, whose Rolls-Royce strayed into the path of protesters against tuition fee hikes.

They hit the car with sticks, fists and bottles and chanted "Off with their heads" before the vehicle pushed its way through the crowd and drove off.

One casualty of the review may be the classic Rolls-Royce Phantom VI the couple were using, a gift to Queen Elizabeth II on her Silver Jubilee in 1977. The 33-year-old limousine does not have bulletproof windows or other modern protection features.

May said that "one of the issues that may very well be looked at is the question of the appropriate transport that is used by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall."

Police have launched a "major criminal investigation" into the demonstrations, which saw protesters scuffle with riot police, smash windows and daub government buildings with graffiti.

The Metropolitan Police force has defended its handling of the protests, which saw scuffles erupt as thousands of students were corralled into an area near the Houses of Parliament.

Hundreds of other rampaged through central London, smashing store windows and trying to set a Christmas tree alight before they came upon the royal couple, who were en route to a theater for a variety performance.

On Sunday police released photos of 14 people they say are suspected of causing violent disorder or criminal damage. Police would not say if any was suspected of involvement in the attack on Charles and Camilla.

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Filed by Alexander Belenky  |