Pippa’s racy party photos, toy gun cause quite a stir

British media are agog over an alleged gun flashed at paparazzi by one of Pippa Middleton’s companions. The gun is alleged to have been a toy.

LONDON — The Parisian costume party featured a man in a dog collar, a scantily-clad woman in a nun’s habit — and a rather well known guest named Pippa Middleton, younger sister of the Duchess of Cambridge.

Middleton, 28, was in the headlines Tuesday, with photographs of her appearance at a friend’s decadent birthday party splashed across the Daily Mail tabloid.

The story came after photographs in The Sun newspaper Monday that showed Pippa in a convertible, next to a companion who pointed what appeared to be a gun at the photographer.

A spokesman for a French clothing company owned by Arthur de Soultrait, who also appeared to be in the car, denied that Middleton’s companion brandished a pistol at the paparazzi, saying that the driver was in fact “playing a game” with the photographers with a toy gun.

Paris police said they have not received any complaints and are not investigating the incident.

The party pictures are striking — women in revealing, low-cut period costumes from the 18th-century playacting with men in fancy clothes and spiky leather collars and bracelets.

Buckingham Palace declined to comment, but the racy coverage was likely not well received by Britain’s royal family, which has been enjoying a popularity boost since the former Kate Middleton’s fairytale wedding to Prince William last year.

“A lot of the world considers that (Pippa) is royal, and by association what she does has an influence on the royal family,” said Ingrid Seward, editor of Majesty magazine.

“It’s unfortunate for Pippa, it’s quite difficult for her,” Seward said of the tabloid reports. “She has all the downside and not the upside. I know she has had a very hard time.”

Pippa Middleton holds no royal title, but her life has been subject to intense scrutiny since she captured attention at her sister’s wedding with a close-fitting maid of honor dress.

The picture editor at the Daily Mail, Paul Silva, recently said that up to 400 paparazzi shots of her cross his desk every day.

Britain’s media often characterize her as the party-loving, more vivacious contrast to her elegant and subdued sister.

The Daily Mail story — with the headline “Her Royal Hotness and the viscount in a dog collar” — showed Middleton, dressed in an 18th-century-style top, posing with other similarly dressed women and a man in a king’s costume laughing as one of the women pulled on the dog collar around his neck.

The paper ran other photos from the party that featured a woman in scanty lingerie and a nun’s headdress dancing.