Image: Prince Charles, Camilla
Matt Dunham  /  AP
Britain's Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, react as their car is attacked by angry protesters in London, Dec. 9. An Associated Press photographer saw demonstrators kick the car in Regent Street, in the heart of London's shopping district. The car then sped off.
updated 12/12/2010 1:21:50 PM ET 2010-12-12T18:21:50

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.

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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.

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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 said they arrested the son of Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour after he was photographed climbing a war memorial during violent student protests.

Pictures of 21-year-old Charlie Gilmour swinging from the national flag on the Cenotaph ran in many British newspapers.

Police said a 21-year-old man was arrested Sunday on suspicion of violent disorder, theft and "attempted criminal damage of the Union flag on the Cenotaph."

The arrest took place in Sussex, where Gilmour lives.

British police do not usually name suspects until they are charged.

Cambridge University student Gilmour issued a public apology Friday, saying he felt "nothing but shame" for his behavior.

Also Sunday, a 17-year-old turned himself in at a London police station and was arrested on suspicion of violent disorder.

Police have made a total of 36 arrests over Thursday's protests and have released photos of 13 other people they want to question.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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