May 30, 2017 / 1:20 PM / 3 months ago

Pistol-packing princess gives Belgian PM an earful

FILE PHOTO: Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel poses as he arrives to attend the NATO Summit at their new headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017.Christian Hartmann

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A Belgian princess fired a starting pistol so close to the prime minister's ear that he had to undergo medical treatment and cancel a speech in parliament on Tuesday.

Charles Michel was standing on a podium next to Princess Astrid, younger sister of King Philippe, when she signaled the start of Sunday's annual Brussels 20 km road race. His spokesman said he later realized the loud report had damaged his hearing.

The prime minister, 41, can be seen flinching markedly in photographs take as the princess pulled the trigger. Astrid, 54, went on to join 40,000 others and run the race herself.

Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; editing by Philip Blenkinsop and Angus MacSwan

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