It was a photoshoot straight out of a PR comic strip and the stuff of public relations nightmares.

So when we first learned about the calamitous fate of a PR photo session, in which a priceless Stradivarius cello fell off a display table and broke in two, we did admittedly have one or two chuckles amongst ourselves.

The accident, which took place last month at the Spanish Royal Palace, has just come to light in the international media despite an order to all those present to keep stumm about the unfortunate incident.

It is not known precisely why the photoshoot had been called. But it is believed that experts had placed the cello on its side to photograph it – only for the instrument to tip forward and hit a table, snapping its neck from the body in the process.

The 17th century masterpiece is estimated to be worth up to $30 million and is part of a set of four string instruments known as The Quartet, a name given to them because they were commissioned at the same time.

National Heritage, the Spanish organisation responsible for the care of the cello, has refused to offer an explanation as to what exactly happened.

However, an unnamed source within the organisation admitted that the antique instrument had sustained accidental damage, saying that it can and will be repaired.

The whole episode has clearly been very embarrassing for National Heritage, which has been made so much worse by the fact that it tried to cover up its clumsy misadventure.

We also reckon that had we been presented with the same situation we would have acted entirely differently.

Instead of attempting to keep a lid on things, we would’ve publicised the mishap for all it was worth, as this would’ve increased interest in the cello by giving the historical instrument yet another fascinating story to tell.

And not only that. The incident would’ve almost certainly enhanced the value of the instrument even further as a result of the ‘priceless’ worldwide media exposure.