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Girl Charged for Slapping Charles

November 9, 2001

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RIGA, Latvia (AP) _ A 16-year-old-girl who slapped Prince Charles in the face with a red carnation was formally charged Friday with endangering the life of a high official.

Alina Lebedeva struck the prince with the long-stemmed flower Thursday as he stopped during a walk in downtown Riga to speak with a group of children. ``I’m against the Afghan war,″ she said in Russian to reporters as police took her away.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, but the girl is likely to face only probation if convicted because of her age, police spokeswoman Kristina Apse said. She declined to say how the attack threatened the prince’s life, who was unhurt.

The protester remained in police custody in Riga, the capital of this ex-Soviet Baltic republic.

Prince Charles had stopped to talk with children waving British flags when the thin, red-haired teen-ager, appearing calm, leaned over and struck him. The girl turned and walked slowly away, saying, ``Britain’s the enemy of the world,″ as armed guards grabbed her and escorted her to a police van.

The heir to the British throne flinched and looked startled but continued chatting with some of the several hundred people who turned out to see him.

President Vaira Vike-Freiberga later apologized on behalf of the country.

Prince Charles began a tour of the region Monday to mark Britain’s recognition of Baltic independence from the Soviet Union a decade ago. He came to Latvia after stops in Estonia and Lithuania and was scheduled to leave the region later Friday.

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