King Charles keeps calm and carries on after protestor hurls eggs at him in York

King Charles reacts after an egg, bottom left, was thrown in his direction as he arrived for a traditional ceremony welcoming the monarch to York, England, on Wednesday. (James Glossop/The Associated Press - image credit)
King Charles reacts after an egg, bottom left, was thrown in his direction as he arrived for a traditional ceremony welcoming the monarch to York, England, on Wednesday. (James Glossop/The Associated Press - image credit)

A 23-year-old man has been arrested after hurling eggs at King Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort, as they walked in the northern England city of York on Wednesday.

In a statement posted to the force's website, the North Yorkshire Police said the man "was arrested on a suspicion of a public order offence following an incident on Micklegate in York. He currently remains in police custody."

The incident happened as the King and his wife were entering York through Micklegate Bar, a medieval gateway where monarchs are traditionally welcomed to the city. Video footage showed several eggs in motion and smashed on the ground. None appeared to hit the royal couple, who continued to greet crowds.

Several police officers could be seen grappling with a man at a crowd barrier. Britain's PA news agency reported that he booed and shouted: "This country was built on the blood of slaves" as he was being detained.

"A well-rehearsed security operation was in place to ensure the safety of the King and Queen Consort," police said in the statement.

James Glossop/The Associated Press
James Glossop/The Associated Press

Other members of the crowd tried to drown out the protestor by chanting "Shame on you" and "God save the King."

Charles and Camilla travelled to York as part of a series of engagements around the U.K. marking the start of the new King's reign. They also visited the city's cathedral, York Minster, and unveiled a statue of Queen Elizabeth, who died in September after 70 years on the throne.

In a statement about the day's events, Charles did not mention the egg attack, and focused on honouring Elizabeth.

"My wife and I are deeply touched to have been asked to unveil this statue to my beloved mother," Charles said.

"The creation of this statue is also, if I may say so, a tribute to the support, affection and prayers that the community of this cathedral, and of this great city, always gave the late Queen, and all for which she stood in the life of the nation and the Commonwealth."

Other than the egging, Yorkshire police called it a "proud day."

"I'm pleased to report that the policing operation and the overall wider visit was successful today," Cmdr. Charlotte Bloxham said in the statement.

A history of food controversies

This isn't the first food-related protest aimed at the new King. In October, two protesters with British activist group Just Stop Oil smashed chocolate cake onto the face of a wax model of Charles at London's Madame Tussauds wax museum.

Anti-British protesters threw eggs at Charles during a walkabout in central Dublin in 1995, and eggs were also thrown at Elizabeth's royal car in 2022 when she visited Nottingham, central England.

Nor is it Charles's first egg controversy. For years, rumours swirled that the former prince had a bizarre breakfast habit — seven soft-boiled eggs, of which he would only eat one.

In his 2006 book, On Royalty, author Jeremy Paxman wrote: "Because his staff were never quite sure whether the egg would be precisely to the satisfactory hardness, a series of eggs was cooked, and laid out in an ascending row of numbers. If the prince felt that number five was too runny, he could knock the top off number six or seven."

The rumour was debunked by the FAQ section of the Prince of Wales's website in 2012, according to Hello! magazine.

James Glossop/The Associated Press
James Glossop/The Associated Press

'Made of stronger stuff'

On Twitter, some users remarked on how Charles kept his cool during the incident and continued greeting crowds.

"The way King Charles did not even break a sweat over that man throwing egg is the prize for me. The Royal Family is made of stronger stuff than politicians, that's for sure," wrote one person.

In the BBC video attached to that tweet, Charles can be seen apparently noticing several eggs fly past him, then continuing to shake hands with someone in the crowd. He then steps around the eggs on the road.

A few people on Twitter also noted the incident happened the same day as The Crown's controversial new season was released on Netflix.

Season 5 of the show depicts some of the lowest points in Charles's popularity, including the breakdown of his marriage to Diana, the former Princess of Wales.