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Saturday, 17 February, 2001, 04:28 GMT
Bullied schoolboy seeks Royal favour
Buckingham Palace
Ruben pitched up at the palace
An 11-year-old Nottinghamshire schoolboy ran away to London to meet the Queen, believing she could protect him from bullies.

Ruben Hayden stowed away on a train to make the 150-mile journey to London, then used his knowledge of the boardgame Monopoly to navigate around the capital.

The youngster arrived at the gates to Buckingham Palace and was taken into protective custody by police.

At first the police didn't believe me

Ruben Hayden
Explaining his actions, Ruben told the Nottingham Evening Post that the Queen was "the most powerful person in the country - I just thought she could do something to stop the bullies".

The schoolboy's epic journey began on Monday, when he took a bus from his school in Radcliffe on Trent, near Nottingham, to the train station.

He then hid upon a London-bound train and after arriving in the capital he jumped on a Tube train, eventually making it to Green Park.

From there he walked all the way to Buckingham Palace, where he put his unusual request to police on the gate.

Police 'shocked'

"At first the police didn't believe me," said Ruben. "They were a bit shocked. I told them exactly what had happened."

Eventually Ruben was taken into protective custody and his mother Wendy was contacted.

Phil Clarke, acting head teacher at Dayncourt School, said the bullying incidents Ruben complained of had been "fully investigated".

Queen Elizabeth II
She may have a crown but her powers are not limitless
"Two claims of bullying have been made involving Ruben," he said. "Both were fully investigated but not enough evidence was found for action to be taken.

"Ruben was being supervised at the time but unfortunately the member of staff who was with him was unable to stop him running away.

"The police and Ruben's mother were called soon after and a full search was launched."

Inspector David Shardlow, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: "At first it was thought Ruben would be near the school or in Nottingham city centre.

"However we were later given information telling us that he had in fact gone to London and had gone to see the Queen. Police at the Palace looked after him until he could be collected."

Nottinghamshire County Council said it was reviewing the guidance given to schools to see if they need additional advice to prevent similar incidents in the future.

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