Continued from page 1

“You can’t blame the royal protection squad for a bunch of anarchists’ bad behavior,” Bomberg said. “But you can blame someone for not doing their job correctly and not understanding the situation as it was unfolding. Someone’s head should bloody roll.”

Police, using live video feeds, should have kept the royal protection squad appraised of the volatile situation and been ready to change plans at a moment’s notice, Bomberg said.

Metropolitan Police chief Paul Stephenson said the route was checked in advance, “including up to several minutes beforehand, when the route was still clear.”

“I do think that the officers who were protecting their royal highnesses showed very real restraint. Some of those officers were armed,” he said.

Police would not comment on how close armed royal protection officers came to drawing their guns.

The Metropolitan Police said it had launched a “major criminal investigation,” focused on who was behind Thursday’s violence.

Given the number of world leaders, royals, celebrities and tourists expected to descend on London for this spring’s royal wedding, Shoebridge said the inquiry needs to be speedy so changes can be immediately put in place.

“If there is to be any silver lining, it would be that this incident provides a wake-up call to Scotland Yard to learn from this and ensure that the royal wedding passes off trouble-free,” he told the AP.

There have been other royal security breaches. Princess Anne escaped a kidnapping attempt in 1974, and in 1981 six blank rounds were fired at Queen Elizabeth II as she rode on horseback. In 1982 the queen woke up to find a strange man sitting on her bed in Buckingham Palace but safely summoned security.

In 1994 a student charged at Charles while firing a starting pistol during a ceremony in Sydney, Australia, and a comedian dressed as Osama bin Laden crashed Prince William’s 21st birthday party at Windsor Castle in 2003.

In the end, Thursday’s fiasco seemed to come down to the royal convoy getting stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The protesters, many wearing hooded sweat shirts, their faces hidden by scarves or balaclavas, had broken off from a large demonstration against university tuition hikes that was being contained by police outside Parliament.

The group headed northwest into the West End, a busy shopping and nightlife district, where the mob smashed shop windows, including those of a Starbucks, and overturned postcard stalls.

At the same time, the royal entourage was heading east from Clarence House, Charles‘ London home near Buckingham Palace, to the Palladium theater on the West End.

The two groups met in Regent Street, home to glossy shops including the Apple Store and Hamley’s toy shop.

Story Continues →