Prince Philip hit by tomato 'tomfoolery'

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The Independent Online

The Duke of Edinburgh was briefly distracted from a walkabout in Tasmania yesterday when a tomato thrown by a teenager clipped the brim of his Panama hat.

The Duke of Edinburgh was briefly distracted from a walkabout in Tasmania yesterday when a tomato thrown by a teenager clipped the brim of his Panama hat.

Police dismissed the youths' actions as "tomfoolery" and have yet to apprehend anyone, although the alleged miscreants were pointed out by Prince Philip as they hid behind a tree.

The incident happened during a visit to Launceston, north Tasmania, where the royal couple were given an otherwise warm welcome by several thousand people who had turned out to see them.

Michael Rowland, an Australian radio reporter who was about 20 metres away from the incident, said: "The Queen did not appear to notice but the Duke stopped, motioned to one of the Scotland Yard detectives and pointed with his index finger towards the tree."

A bystander who picked up the tomato and handed it to an Australian police officer said: "I would have eaten it but it was the Queen's evidence."

Yesterday in Alice Springs, in Australia's "red centre", the royals' next destination , police detonated two "suspicious soda siphons" containing what they described as "rudimentary devices". Officers were treating the matter as a "prank".

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