MANHATTAN - Prince Phillipe Renaldo, the 50-year-old crowned prince of Genovia, was arrested early Wednesday morning for driving his newly purchased 1978 Ferrari 312T3 Formula One race car down the West Side Highway, according to a spokesperson for the New York City Police Department. No injuries were reported.
Witnesses say the prince was driving at speeds in excess of 180 miles per hour before being pulled over by NYPD Highway Patrol officers. A spokesperson for the NYPD confirms that the prince complied with all instructions given by the officers, including taking a field sobriety test.
Police as well as Genovian embassy officials declined to share further details regarding the arrest. Prince Phillipe has had no previous arrests, either in the United States or abroad.
It is illegal to drive race cars intended for closedtrack use only on public streets in the state of New York. It is not known whether the prince, whose primary residence is the European principality of Genovia, was aware of this. The prince is said to have purchased the vehicle earlier in the day at an auction upstate.
New to Formula One racing, this is the first year the prince has taken part in Genovia's Grand Prix, infamous for its tight corners through the small principality's narrow, cobblestoned streets and precipitous cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean.
According to the prince's mother, the Dowager Princess Clarisse Renaldo, age unknown, this year's race will also be his last. "The only place he'll be racing after this is down the aisle, with my granddaughter," Princess Clarisse was overheard to say outside the Manhattan Detention Complex, where she was waiting to visit her son in jail.
According to the Royal Palace, however, there are currently no plans for a royal wedding between Princess Mia Thermopolis Renaldo, 25, and longtime boyfriend, medical entrepreneur Michael Moscovitz, 29. Moscovitz is founder and CEO of Pavlov Surgical, a successful medical robotics firm.
Princess Mia is the prince's only child and heir to the throne of Genovia. She was raised by her mother, American artist Helen Thermopolis, in New York City's Greenwich Village. Mia has stated in numerous interviews that she is thankful she did not find out she was a princess until she was a teenager, though it meant missing out on the glamour of being raised as a young royal on the Riviera.
"I was able to grow up in a fairly normal way," Mia has been quoted as saying. "If I'd had a cell phone and constant access to the Internet like most kids do today, I probably would have caught on sooner."
This is not the first unhappy event to strike the princess's family in recent months: her stepfather, Frank Gianini, passed away last year from congestive heart failure.
In his name, the princess founded the Frank Gianini Community Center in New York City. The center is designed to help children and teens acquire the skills they need to succeed in school or their chosen future career path. In a statement at its opening, the princess said, "My stepfather was always there to help me with my homework, and my hope is that this center will carry on that legacy in his memory."
Genovia is a constitutional monarchy and member of the EU, with Prince Phillipe having ruled as monarch since the death ofhis father over twenty years ago. He's also served uncontested as the country's prime minister for nearly a decade, but a distant cousin of the prince's-Count Ivan Renaldo-has drawn significantly ahead in recent polls, running on a campaign of economic and immigration reform. Genovia has seen a sharp rise in illegal immigration but a decline in tourism in the past few years due to the worldwide recession, losing revenue to better-known tourist destinations such as Paris, London, and Venice.
For these reasons, many are speculating that the prince's arrest could not have come at a worse time.
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