According to The Sun, the royal sister-in-law was riding in the passenger seat of an Audi on Sunday with three friends when the driver pointed what appears to be a semi-automatic handgun and jokingly aimed it at a paparazzi following them.
A source told reporters, “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.”
“Certainly if you were in a car and knew somebody was using a gun to warn people off you’d be liable to arrest,” the source added.
The photo shows Middleton the 27-year-old looking back at the paparazzo and grinning like her friend, the driver, reaches down and aims what appears to be the gun.
ABC News reports that the photographer revealed he knew the gun was a fake and has been telling people he never felt scared. Besides, friends of one of the Middleton’s fellow-travellers in the car added that they have the toy gun in their possession.
The incident took place some hours after Pippa attended a decadent 18th century-themed party thrown by her close friend, the French aristocrat and designer Vicomte Arthur de Soultrait, on Friday.
“Pippa is a party girl. She mixes now in very high society and they don’t come very higher than this group of French aristocratic sons,” the Sun’s Duncan Larcombe, said of the three men Middleton was photographed with.
A person who witnessed the incident filed a formal complaint with Paris police, the Daily Mail claims. If the gun turns out to be real, those involved could face up to seven years in prison, in case the weapon is fake, the maximum sentence is two years.
“It was not a real gun. It was just a stupid joke,” said a representative. However, the French aren’t laughing, especially in the wake of the shocking shootings in Toulouse last month. Paris authorities warned that everyone in the car including Pippa could face arrest.
Middleton, who works for her family’s party-planning business, reportedly dated her old flame, George Percy, an heir to the Duke of Northumberland, one of Britain’s grandest and richest titles.
“Pippa has been photographed; she’s been coached on how to behave,” Larcombe said. “If she’s photographed by an unwanted freelance photographer, she smiles, she keeps her head up and she lets the lawyers doing the arguing behind the scenes. She knows much better than this.”
Buckingham Palace refused to comment on the incident, explaining that Middleton is not a member of the royal family.
“I think often by what they’re not saying can often say more and I think there are some very nervous people behind the scenes right now,” Larcombe said.
“I think, in fairness to her [Pippa], it will be interesting to know whether she told this guy off after he’d done something as stupid as this or whether she thinks it was all a big joke because in the pictures, unfortunately for her, it does look as though she found the funny side of it,” he added.