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Friday, 9 November, 2001, 12:51 GMT
Schoolgirl who hit prince faces jail
Prince Charles was on a visit to Latvia
The red-haired woman struck out from the crowd
The schoolgirl who hit Prince Charles across the face with a flower while he was visiting the Latvian capital has been charged with endangering the life of a foreign dignitary.

Latvian police said Alina Lebedeva, 16, will remain in custody in Riga until Sunday following Thursday's incident.

The schoolgirl said she was protesting about the war in Afghanistan, but police have taken her actions seriously and the charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years.

On Friday the prince was visiting Latvia's second city Daugavpils - the home of his attacker - on the final day of his week-long Baltic tour.

A spokeswoman for the security police said: "She has been charged under Article 87 with endangering the health and life of a foreign dignitary.
Alina Lebedeva
The schoolgirl was protesting about the war in Afghanistan

"The investigation is ongoing into the circumstances of the incident."

She said police would be investigating whether anyone had "pushed" Alina into carrying out the attack.

Under Latvian law, the prince could be given an opportunity to influence the girl's sentence if the case goes to court.

A St James's Palace spokesman said on Friday: "It is a matter for the Latvian authorities and we don't want to pre-empt any judicial process."

But Royal aides said they would be "very surprised" if the prince ever took up any offer to testify against the schoolgirl.

Apology

Outside a cathedral Charles was visiting in Daugavpils on Friday, Alina's English teacher made an attempt to apologise to him for her pupil's behaviour.

Mrs Vasilievna called out from the crowd to thank him for coming to Latvia. Prince Charles praised her English but moved on before she had a chance to deliver her apology.

I came to say sorry to Prince Charles

Alina's English teacher

Mrs Vasilievna told reporters she was really worried about Alina, whose mother had gone to Riga to try to get her released.

"I came to say sorry to Prince Charles," she said.

He was said to be unhurt in the incident which happened while he was talking to well-wishers in the crowd after laying a wreath at the Freedom Monument in Riga on Thursday.

Palace officials said at the time he had been unaffected by the assault.

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