People talk.sat 11/24/01

Saturday, November 24, 2001

Teen-ager apologizes for smacking prince

RIGA, Latvia -- The 16-year-old girl who slapped Prince Charles with a flower earlier this month has sent a note apologizing for the incident, her father said Thursday.

"I didn't want to offend you personally and I ask for your forgiveness and hope you understand," Alina Lebedeva wrote in the letter, published in the Chas Russian-language daily.

Her father, Nikolai Lebedev, confirmed its contents.

Lebedeva struck Charles in the face with a red carnation earlier this month as he stopped to greet children in Riga. She said she was protesting Britain's involvement in the Afghan war.

The prince, who was unhurt, was on a five-day tour of the three Baltic states to mark Britain's recognition of their independence 10 years ago.

A spokesman for the prince called the incident "trivial." But Latvian police arrested Lebedeva and charged her with threatening the life of a foreign dignitary, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

The high school senior spent three days in police custody before being released to her parents. Her case was turned over to prosecutors and a decision about whether they'll put her on trial is expected within several weeks.

Madonna keeps covered for husband

LONDON -- Pop singer Madonna said Thursday her husband Guy Ritchie tells her to cover up if she wears outfits that he considers too skimpy.

The singer, known for her revealing outfits and suggestive lyrics, says she often does as he asks.

"He doesn't like it when I wear see-through shirts. Because he doesn't want anyone to see my raspberries," Madonna, 43, said in an interview on British Broadcasting Corp. radio. "He doesn't want me to dress like an old slapper," a British term for a woman of easy virtue.

Asked if she covered up when asked, she replied, "Mostly. Unless I'm crunched for time."

Sometimes, she said, she insists she should be allowed to dress as she wants, but "I have to pick and choose my battles."

Spice Girls may hit tour circuit again

LONDON -- From the mouth of "Baby Spice": the Spice Girls could go on tour next year.

Emma Bunton countered suggestions that because the Spice Girls have recently been concentrating on solo careers, they will not perform as a group again.

In an interview with the British pop magazine "Smash Hits," Bunton said the four had discussed going on the road together next year.

"We've talked about touring again and it's something we'd really like to do but we have to give each other space to do our solo stuff," she told the magazine.

"It'll probably be at least another year before it happens. It'll be an amazing show, with solo stuff, Spice stuff, a really good show."

In an interview earlier this year, "Sporty Spice" Melanie Chisholm said she didn't expect to work with the other Spice Girls again. But the band's management quickly issued a statement saying she had only been referring to the immediate future and was not talking long-term.

Prime minister mocked for spelling gaffe

LONDON -- Prime Minister Tony Blair was the butt of tabloid press humor Thursday, after apparently misspelling the word "tomorrow" in a good luck note to a Labor Party member.

In a handwritten note, the premier apparently wrote "toomorrow" three times.

The alleged mistake came to light Wednesday when the note was reprinted in a local evening newspaper, which carried a picture of Blair wearing a dunce's cap.

A spokesman from Blair's Downing Street office insisted the prime minister's handwriting had been misinterpreted.

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