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The BBC's Nicholas Witchell
"The Queen was said to be unruffled"
 real 28k

Friday, 16 June, 2000, 03:48 GMT 04:48 UK
Gun fired on royal train

The Queen spent the day in Cardiff after the incident
A royal bodyguard accidentally fired two shots from his gun on the Royal Train while the Queen was on board.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were asleep in another carriage when the royal protection officer discharged two shots at approximately 0530 BST on Thursday, Scotland Yard said.

No-one was injured but an investigation has been launched by the Metropolitan Police, Gwent Police and British Transport Police.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "Two shots were fired which caused slight damage to the interior of the train. A round went into a table and the other into the carpet."

He added that the officer had not been suspended but had been taken off firearms duty pending the results of the investigation.

The train had stopped for the night in a siding in Gwent on its way to Cardiff, where the Queen and Prince Philip had several engagements.

Queen asleep

The veteran firearms officer with the elite Royalty and Diplomatic Protection Squad. discharged a round from his 9mm Glock automatic pistol in the staff dining room of the train.

According to reports, the second shot was accidentally fired moments later as he tried to make the weapon safe.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were asleep in a separate compartment two carriages away from the officer and apparently slept through the incident.

The officer, who has not been named, was on his own at the time of the incident.

He was immediately relieved of his duties and sent back to London pending the outcome of the inquiry.

A palace source said the Queen was fully informed about the incident over breakfast but appeared unruffled by it.

Narrow miss

Both she and Prince Philip continued with their engagements in Cardiff.

It is not the first time a gun has accidentally gone off near one of the Royal Family.

In November, a policeman accidentally fired his Glock automatic pistol while emptying it inside St James's Palace - the Prince of Wales's home in London.

The bullet was reported to have narrowly missed a soldier walking in the palace grounds. It apparently ricocheted off the floor and smashed through a ground-floor window.

Six years ago, a Royalty Protection officer shot himself in the leg during routine target practice.

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