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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 June, 2003, 18:44 GMT 19:44 UK
Charles 'sorry' for prince's driving
William at the wheel of his car
William was driving his Golf when he overtook the lord
The Prince of Wales has reportedly apologised for a driving dispute involving Prince William and his bodyguards.

A speedy piece of over-taking by the prince's elder son led to a member of the aristocracy being run off one of the roads on his own estate by Royal Protection Squad officers.

Lord Bathurst, 76, was driving on a dirt road on his 15,000-acre estate in Cirencester, Gloucestershire on Saturday afternoon when the 21-year-old prince came up behind him in his Volkswagen Golf.

William had just left a polo match at Cirencester Polo Club, on the estate.

Finding the lord's Range Rover going at too slow a pace, Prince William put his foot down and overtook, prompting the lord to toot his horn and give chase.

If it had been at Windsor I would have been in the Tower
Lord Bathurst

Lord Bathurst complained the prince had been doing 30-40mph when the limit was 20mph.

"There are rules in the club about driving in the estate and people have to stick to them," said the lord.

"If His Royal Highness does not obey them then how can you expect it of ordinary members of the club? He should set an example.

"If it had been at Windsor I would have been in the Tower."

William's bodyguards stopped the lord's car and an officer from the Royal Protection Squad spoke to him.

Girlfriend rumours

Lord Bathurst described it as a "fairly major" incident which had prompted the Prince of Wales to apologise to his son, Lord Apsley.

A spokesman for Cirencester Polo Club said: "Basically, Prince William overtook him and the police cars following him behind did as well, probably because it is their job to stay with the prince all the time.

"Lord Bathurst hit his horn and gave chase. He wanted to overtake the police car but it stopped him.

"Prince William drove on but the police officer had strong words with Lord Bathurst."

Officials confirmed the incident had taken place, but said it never became serious.

William and his father Prince Charles (foreground), playing polo on Saturday
The incident followed a polo match at Cirencester Polo Club

A spokesman for St James's Palace said: "This was a very minor incident in which no one was injured and as far as we are concerned the matter is closed."

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said they would not discuss the incident, adding: "At no stage has there been a breach of security."

William was also in Sunday's newspapers amid claims he has a girlfriend - 21-year-old Jessica 'Jecca' Craig - whom the Daily Mail said the prince had met in Kenya two years ago.

But St James's Palace rejected the claims, saying the two were just friends.

"St James's Palace denies that there is or ever has been any romantic liaison between Prince William and Jessica Craig," a statement said.

"They also ask for the media to leave her and her family alone."

Prince William, who is second in line to the throne, is currently halfway through his four-year degree studying History of Art at the University of St Andrews, on the coast of Fife.

After his studies, he reportedly plans to do environmental work in Africa, instead of the traditional royal career in the military.

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