Pippa Middleton has been under the gun to make amends for her royal scandal du jour. And it looks like her white knight has come in a somewhat unlikely form: not the (toy) gun brandisher himself, but rather Pippa's Parisian party host.
Viscount Arthur de Soultrait apologized today for the brief but massive foray into common sense-lacking that saw his friend brandish a fake albeit realistic looking firearm at paparazzi while joyriding with the royal sister-in-law in Paris last weekend.
In addition to offering up a mea culpa for the ill-fated action, the French artistocrat also did his best to defend Pippa's honor, distancing Kate Middleton's tabloid-targeted sister from blame for the now international incident.
"Last Saturday I was in a car with Philippa Middleton, and we were being followed by paparazzi," de Soultrait said in a statement released today. "She had been subject to constant and dangerous harassment by paparazzi throughout her time in Paris. The car was being driven by a friend of mine, whom Pippa had only met a few hours before. As a joke, my friend brandished a toy pistol in their direction."
Some joke. Which obviously got lost in translation, as nearly as soon as the photos were disseminated of Romain Robillard—French criminal lawyer and, ironically enough, adviser to one of the world's leading small-arms manufacturers Heckler & Koch—calls for Pippa's questioning, fining and even arrest made the online rounds.
"Obviously Philippa had no idea that he was going to do that and told him to stop immediately," de Soultrait continued. "She did not find it funny."
Though that may be the case, Prince William's sister-in-law certainly drew ire for appearing to smile, if not laugh, in the photos taken of the incident.
Still, de Soultrait says that despite appearances, Pippa was none too amused by the stunt and in no way endorsed Robillard's actions.
"I regret enormously that this incident happened, and especially that Pippa has been subject to the subsequent attention through no fault of her own. I have apologized to her for this."
A gentleman and consummate host, then. Middleton was only in Paris in the first place to attend a rather decadent-looking costume birthday party for the Viscount, photos of which de Soultrait wasted no time in posting on his Facebook page. Middleton, in her 18th century corset wear, comes off simply demure by comparison to the other guests, who saw fit to wear dog collars, chastity belts and surround themselves with dwarves.
As for gungate, Buckingham Palace had no comment on the incident.