PIPPA Middleton believes an incident in which she was photographed with a man aiming a pistol as he sat at the wheel of a car was "all a joke", according to a friend.
he younger sister of the Duchess of Cambridge was pictured on Saturday afternoon with the man – named by a newspaper as Paris lawyer Romain Rabillard.
It happened the day after she attended a lavish 18th-century-themed fancy dress party in Paris, thrown by her friend, designer Vicomte Arthur de Soultrait.
Miss Middleton, 27, could now be questioned by French police over the gun incident, which took place as she was being driven to the Gare du Nord to catch a Eurostar to London.
However the Viscount's brother Marcy de Soultrait last night insisted that the gun in question was a child's toy and that Miss Middleton thought the matter was "a very funny game".
He told the Daily Mail: "Pippa is a very good friend of mine and this gun affair is very silly. It was a children's toy that the driver had in his car. Pippa thought it was funny. It is fine in France to do that and the police are not investigating.
"In France there is no problem, just in England. You English think there is a problem, which is crazy.
"I have spoken with Pippa, she thinks this is all a joke and a funny game. We were just having a laugh. We are funny people, it's what we do.
"The paparazzo saw the toy and he knew it was a toy, he has said so. You English need to get over it. It was just a joke that has been blown out of all proportion."
Meanwhile, Mr Rabillard was named by The Sun as the man pictured waving the gun about. The newspaper reported that the 36-year-old, who works for a US law firm, is a regular on the party circuit, and lives in a £2,000-a-month penthouse near his office on the Champs Elysees.
He was not available for comment last night, The Sun reported. A friend said: "He is lying low."
France has strict gun laws and is on a heightened security alert after an Islamic terrorist, Mohammed Merah, used a .45 calibre Colt pistol to murder seven people in the south west of the country last month.
In the incident involving Miss Middleton, as a freelance photographer took pictures from behind the car, the driver produced what appeared to be a semi-automatic pistol and closed one eye as he stared down the barrel at the photographer.
Under French law, anyone who “threatens” another with a real or fake weapon can face a prison sentence of five years.
Pictures of the incident taken by a bystander have reportedly been handed to the judicial police, who must decide whether to alert an examining magistrate.
If a magistrate presses ahead with an inquiry, Miss Middleton and the other three people in the car could all face questioning.