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York (United Kingdom) (AFP) – King Charles III and his wife Queen Consort Camilla narrowly avoided being hit by eggs thrown at them during a visit to northern England on Wednesday, leading to an arrest.
The 73-year-old monarch and Camilla, 75, were targeted by three eggs which landed near them on a walk in York, before being carried away by guards.
At the time of the incident, a man was heard shouting “this country was built on the blood of slaves” and “not my king” before being pulled over by several police officers, footage carried by broadcasters showed.
The protester also booed the royal couple before he appeared to throw the eggs at them, according to reporters present.
Others in the crowd who had gathered at the historic Micklegate Bar location for the visit began chanting “God save the King” and “shame on you” at the protester.
Charles and Camilla continued with a traditional ceremony to officially welcome the sovereign to the historic city by its Lord Mayor, as police arrested the alleged perpetrator.
“A 23-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of disturbing the public order,” North Yorkshire Police said in a statement. “He currently remains in custody.”
British media named him as a former Green Party candidate and activist for the environmental protest group Extinction Rebellion.
‘To be open’
The Royal Family were in York to witness the unveiling of a statue of Charles’ mother, Queen Elizabeth II, the first to be installed since her death on September 8.
The new king, who immediately ascended the throne that day, made no reference to the incident as he later gave a short speech.
On Tuesday, Charles met artists in another Yorkshire town, Leeds, who had been involved in a project exploring Britain’s role in slavery – and revealed he was open to discussions on the subject.
“He’s ready to have those conversations and see what work can be done,” Fiona Compton, an artist and historian from St. Lucia who knows the monarch and has been involved in the project, told reporters.
“He’s okay, it’s British history, there’s no hiding it.
“In the same way that we talk about the Holocaust, we should be open to talking about Britain’s involvement in the slave trade,” added Compton, whose father was prime minister of Saint Lucia.
The royal family is increasingly facing the problem, as growing republican movements in Commonwealth countries with the British monarch as head of state demand that the Crown apologize for the slave trade and atone for colonization.
During a Caribbean tour by the king’s eldest son, Prince William, earlier this year, he faced protests over past royal ties to slavery, demands for reparations and republican sentiment increasing.
Charles’s younger brother, Prince Edward, faced similar protests and canceled a stop to Grenada after pro-republican protests there.
Nationally, Charles is less popular than his late mother, who maintained highly favorable ratings throughout her record seven-decade reign.
The latest YouGov poll found 44% of adults had a positive view of him, compared to almost three-quarters for Queen Elizabeth II.
Despite promoting environmental causes for decades, climate activists last month smeared a chocolate cake on a Charles wax model at Madame Tussauds in London.
During the Queen’s national mourning period in September, Republican movements said anti-monarchist views had been drowned out.
There have been criticisms of the police treatment of protesters who have publicly questioned the hereditary principle of Charles’ membership.
Meanwhile, in London on Wednesday, a man who was ‘obsessed’ with gaining access to royal lands was spared jail after two break-ins at Buckingham Palace last year.
Daniel Brydges, 33, was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months, after previously pleading guilty to two counts of trespassing on a secure site and criminal damage.
© 2022 AFP