updated 04/18/2012 AT 9:00 AM ET
•originally published 04/18/2012 AT 10:40 AM ET
Pippa Middleton’s party host of last weekend, French aristocrat Arthur de Soultrait, has issued an apology to her and an explanation for what has turned into a cause célèbre over a toy gun that was apparently jokingly pointed at paparazzi.
“Last Saturday,” said de Soultrait’s statement, which was released in Paris Wednesday afternoon, “I was in a car with Philippa Middleton, and we were being followed by paparazzi.
“She had been subject to constant and dangerous harassment by paparazzi throughout her time in Paris. The car was being driven by a friend of mine, whom Pippa had only met a few hours before. As a joke, my friend brandished a toy pistol in their direction.
“Obviously Philippa had no idea that he was going to do that and told him to stop immediately. She did not find it funny.
“I regret enormously that this incident happened, and especially that Pippa has been subject to the subsequent attention through no fault of her own. I have apologized to her for this.”
Photos emerged earlier this week of Middleton, 28, smiling in a car as a male friend pointed the weapon. Her friend was identified as French criminal lawyer Romain Rabillard, 36.