Two women masquerading as crowd control officers hurled raw eggs at Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II as she rode in an open car today, splattering her pink coat with yellow yolk, police said.
The queen and her husband, Prince Philip, were standing in a four-wheel-drive vehicle waving at about 42,000 schoolchildren gathered at Ellerslie Race Course to greet the royal couple.
At the halfway point of the drive, two protesters emerged from the crowd and threw the eggs from close range. One egg hit the queen’s full-length pink coat low on the thigh, while another smashed into the car’s windshield.
As the prince mopped up the egg trickling down her coat, the queen appeared visibly upset by the attack and left the vehicle.
Police dragged the two women away while spectators screamed abuse at them for the attack. The suspects were booked on charges of assault and disorderly behavior.
The women told police they threw the eggs as a protest against a treaty signed by the British Crown and New Zealand’s native Maoris 146 years ago.
Police beefed up security for the remainder of the queen’s activities today, including a civic welcome in the Auckland city square and a walking tour.
Prime Minister David Lange told reporters in the capital of Wellington that he would personally apologize to the monarch for the “shameful act of gross discourtesy.”
The queen appeared to recover her composure after the incident and in an address to local schoolchildren proclaimed the day a holiday for them.
The incident occurred during the third day of the queen’s nine-day visit to New Zealand, her seventh tour of the South Pacific island nation.
Native Maori activists said they planned a “21-bum salute” for the queen later in the visit, to show their strong anti-royal feelings.
Dun Mihaka said the Maoris would bare their buttocks to the queen in what he said was a traditional Maori insult called whakapohane.
Mihaka was arrested when he staged a similar protest in front of Prince Charles and Princess Diana during their visit to Wellington in 1983.