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1982: Queen fends off bedroom intruder

VIDEO : Queen talks down prowler in her bedroom

A man has broken into Buckingham Palace and spent ten minutes talking to the Queen in her bedroom.

At around 0715 BST Michael Fagan, 31, scaled the walls around the palace and shinned the drain-pipe up to the Queen's private apartments.

Barefooted and wearing a t-shirt the unemployed father of four evaded electronic alarms and palace and police guards before disturbing the Queen by opening a curtain.

Mr Fagan is already due to appear at Bow Street Magistrates' Court tomorrow to face charges of trespass and stealing half a bottle of wine from Buckingham Palace on 7 June.

Smoked out

The Queen was only able to raise the alarm when he asked for a cigarette.

She calmly called for a footman who held the intruder until police arrived.

The incident happened as the armed police officer outside the royal bedroom came off duty before his replacement - apparently out walking the dogs - arrived.

This is the sixth breach of security at the Queen's London residence this year and raises serious questions about how well protected she is.

Last month a man with a knife burst into the forecourt of Buckingham Palace and last year three German tourists camped in the grounds, believing it to be Hyde Park.

It is the first time that private royal apartments have been penetrated since Queen Victoria's reign, although the Queen Mother disturbed an army deserter in her bathroom during the Second World War.

In Context
Michael Fagan was not charged for trespassing in the Queen's bedroom since it was then a civil offence and proceedings would have compromised the Queen's position as head of state.

In September 1982 Mr Fagan was acquitted of stealing wine from Buckingham Palace in June.

He admitted another charge of stealing a car and the judge at the Old Bailey sent him to a top security mental health hospital in Liverpool, as a patient rather than a criminal. He was released three months later.

Since then Michael Fagan has committed several other petty offences.

In 1984 aggravated trespass or the act of trespass with the intent to disrupt or obstruct a lawful activity became a criminal offence.

In June 2003, a comedian managed to gatecrash Prince William's 21st birthday party at Windsor Castle leading to calls to make the offence of ordinary trespass on royal or government property a criminal offence.


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