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Queen Elizabeth egged, threatened with '21 bum salute'

AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- Prime Minister David Lange vowed to personally apologize to Queen Elizabeth II Monday for the 'shameful act of gross discourtesy' when two girls pelted the monarch with raw eggs as she greeted a throng of schoolchildren.

Two young women masquerading as crowd-control officers along the royal parade route lurched forward and began hurling a barrage eggs at the queen as she rode in an open car Monday, splattering her pink coat with a slimy egg yolk, police said.

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Another egg popped on the car's windshield.

The queen and her husband, Prince Philip, were standing in the four-wheel-drive vehicle waving at 42,000 schoolchildren at Auckland's Ellerslie Race Course.

As the prince mopped up the egg oozing down his wife's coat, the queen appeared visibly upset by the attack and stepped down from the back of the vehicle.

Police dragged the two egg-slingers away while spectators screamed abuse at them for the attack. The women, who were not immediately identified, were later booked on charges of assault and disorderly behavior.

In Wellington, Lange denounced the egg-throwing as 'a shameful act of gross discourtesy' and said he would make a personal apology to the queen.

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The incident occurred during the third day of the queen's nine-day visit to New Zealand, her seventh tour of the South Pacific island nation.

Native Maori activists said they planned a '21 bum salute' for the queen later in the visit, to show their strong anti-royal feelings.

Activist Dun Mihaka said the Maoris -- dark-skinned natives of New Zealand -- would bare their buttocks to the queen in what he said was a traditional Maori insult called 'whakapohane.'

Mihaka was arrested when he staged a similar protest in front of Prince Chares and Princess Diana during their visit to Wellington in 1983.

The women told police they egged the queen to protest a treaty signed by the British Crown and native New Zealand Maoris 146 years ago.

The two protesters had worn the white coats of officers helping in crowd control and had even answered spectators' questions about the event, appearing to some bystanders as 'quite charming' until they let loose with the eggs.

'It was terrible,' said Betty McPherson of Auckland. 'I grabbed one of the girls and held her until the police arrived.'

'It's not nice for the kids to see something like this,' she said.

Police tightened security for the remainder of the queen's activities for the day, which included a civic welcome in the Auckland city square.

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