News for Friday: June 16th, 2000

Gun fired on royal train(BBC News)

The Queen spent the day in Cardiff after the incident A royal bodyguard accidentally fired two shots from his gun on the Royal Train while the Queen was on board.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were asleep in another carriage when the royal protection officer discharged two shots at approximately 0530 BST on Thursday, Scotland Yard said.
No-one was injured but an investigation has been launched by the Metropolitan Police, Gwent Police and British Transport Police.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "Two shots were fired which caused slight damage to the interior of the train. A round went into a table and the other into the carpet."
He added that the officer had not been suspended but had been taken off firearms duty pending the results of the investigation.
The train had stopped for the night in a siding in Gwent on its way to Cardiff, where the Queen and Prince Philip had several engagements.
Queen asleep

The veteran firearms officer with the elite Royalty and Diplomatic Protection Squad. discharged a round from his 9mm Glock automatic pistol in the staff dining room of the train.
According to reports, the second shot was accidentally fired moments later as he tried to make the weapon safe.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were asleep in a separate compartment two carriages away from the officer and apparently slept through the incident.
The officer, who has not been named, was on his own at the time of the incident.
He was immediately relieved of his duties and sent back to London pending the outcome of the inquiry.
A palace source said the Queen was fully informed about the incident over breakfast but appeared unruffled by it.
Narrow miss

Both she and Prince Philip continued with their engagements in Cardiff.
It is not the first time a gun has accidentally gone off near one of the Royal Family.
In November, a policeman accidentally fired his Glock automatic pistol while emptying it inside St James's Palace - the Prince of Wales's home in London.
The bullet was reported to have narrowly missed a soldier walking in the palace grounds. It apparently ricocheted off the floor and smashed through a ground-floor window.
Six years ago, a Royalty Protection officer shot himself in the leg during routine target practice.

Dowager empress taken ill(Electronic Telegraph)

THE Dowager Empress Nagako of Japan is ill and breathing with the aid of an oxygen mask, the Imperial Household Agency said yesterday. Her condition was not critical, it said.
Nagako, 97, married the late Emperor Hirohito in 1924, becoming empress in 1927. She has rarely been seen in public since his death in 1989. Colin Joyce, Tokyo

Don't write off the elderly, Prince says (UK Times)

THE Prince of Wales called last night for a more positive attitude towards older people and a rethink of society's expectations of ageing.
In a speech at St James's Palace, he spoke of the need to "break away from the common belief that as we grow older our health and well-being must inevitably become poorer".
Introducing the annual lecture of the health charity The King's Fund, of which he is president, the Prince said that public emphasis on the needs of older people often led society to be blind to the benefits and opportunities that growing older could bring.
"A minority of frail older people do have very significant healthcare needs. But the great majority is able to enjoy active and productive lives and make no greater use of health services than younger people. Yet to judge from the media, one might be forgiven for thinking that all older people are financially, physically and socially dependent on others."

Princes paint cultural connection (UK Times)

TWO Princes opened an exhibition of their paintings yesterday next to the works of an Old Master. The Prince of Wales paints soft watercolours of Scottish hills. Prince Khalid of Saudi Arabia paints bold, bright oils of hawks, horses and Arab women.
Their work, inaugurating a cultural exchange between Britain and Saudi Arabia, was on display at the Banqueting House in Whitehall, Central London. Rubens painted the ceiling of the Banqueting Hall with images of James I ascending to heaven as reward for his earthly works as England's first Stuart monarch. Rubens surrounded him with rich panels of allegory as "Reason triumphing over intemperate discord" and "Abundance bestriding avarice".
The Princes standing beneath the ceiling yesterday were a touch more modest. The Prince of Wales said: "It is embarrassing for an amateur artist to be surrounded by our own inadequate works, especially when being looked down upon by Rubens."
The exhibition follows a visit by the Prince last November to the Asir province on the Red Sea, of which Prince Khalid, a son of the late King Faisal, is governor. It is mountainous and the only part of Saudi Arabia that sees snow.
The Prince of Wales has 30 watercolours on display, including one of his Highgrove home and landscapes of Scotland, Provence, Greece, Turkey and two of Asir. He said the light and landscapes in Asir were remarkable and that he had tried to capture harsh light on mountain ranges. In the exhibition catalogue, the Prince said: "I have tried in my painting of the area to capture something of the grandeur of the scenery, the peaceful atmosphere and the effect of sunlight on the serried ranks of mountains."
He added yesterday: "I must tell you how much I enjoyed my visit last year to the Province of Asir. It was the most wonderful place to paint."
Prince Khalid, 60, an amateur artist with 26 paintings on display, said: "I believe my fellow artist has captured the light of the province very successfully." Also on show were 15 paintings by British artist James Hart Dyke, who went with the Prince of Wales to Saudi Arabia. He said Prince Khalid's work reflected the culture of Saudi Arabia. "He has some very interesting techniques; he is fluid and bold."
Of Prince Charles, he said: "His strength is that he is passionate about what he does; some of his best paintings have been done in Scotland, which he loves." The exhibition, Painting and Patronage, is free and open until Wednesday. All proceeds will go to the Prince of Wales's Art Foundation in Shoreditch, East London.


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