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How Queen Elizabeth Handled An Intruder Who Broke Into Her Buckingham Palace Bedroom While She Slept

Photo: Alessia Pierdomenico / Shutterstock.com
Queen Elizabeth II

A drunk, 31-year-old man on the morning of July 9, 1982, caused one of the most high-profile security breaches on the Royal Family in the history of their reign.

As Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II slept in her royal chambers on the morning of July 9th, Michael Fagan was scaling the palace walls in preparation for a moment that would stay in the minds of the UK population forever.

The scene was eventually recreated in "The Crown," though Fagan says it was heavily dramatized.

Did Queen Elizabeth II really speak to Michael Fagan?

Despite the Netflix series showing an earnest conversation between Fagan and The Queen about the state of the United Kingdom under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's rule, Fagan says he never actually spoke to the monarch.

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She quickly fled the room to get help before they could exchange words.

Fagan claims that Netflix never reached out to him about the story, so they fabricated a lot of things during the Season 4 episode of The Crown, but he did have a conversation with the Queen in her Royal Chambers.

Michael Fagan wandered Buckingham Palace's halls before breaking into Queen Elizabeth's royal chambers.

"They say she must have been frightened," Fagan said in an interview with The Sun. "I didn't frighten her too much, but I was quite shocked," he said, describing the moment he witnessed the Queen asleep in her bed.

He claims that it was surprising he wasn’t caught immediately, but mentioned on multiple occasions that he knew the palace security was weak — admitting that he had broken into the palace on another occasion as well.

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This time, he climbed a drainage pipe after attempting to break in through an unlocked window on the ground floor.

After walking around aimlessly for a short time, Fagan wandered and found himself inside the Queen’s royal chambers and discovered the monarch sleeping.

"She used a phone on the bedside table to call security, but when nobody came, she got out of bed,” he said. "She said, 'Just one minute, I'll get someone,' swept past me and ran out of the room, her little bare feet running across the floor."

By this point, Fagan had broken a glass ashtray and cut his hand on a piece of glass that he would eventually use to cut some netting that he struggled with getting into the palace.

"I was sat there for about three minutes and the next thing this tall footman came into the room and, swear to God,” he claims, “said, ‘F--- me, you look like you could do with a drink.’”

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The Queen’s footman, nicknamed "Tall Paul" due to his 6ft 6in height, Paul Whybrew, admitted in court that he offered the man a drink and took him across the hall to the Queen’s pantry, allowing the Queen to return to her room a short time later.

“At 7.30am every day a maid arrives with a tray of tea,” Fagan continues. “When she saw Michael being escorted away, she blurted out, ‘Bloody hell, Ma’am, what’s he doing here?’ It was said to be the only time a member of staff has sworn in front of the Queen.”

After being poured a glass of Famous Grouse whisky, the men waited outside in the hall for the palace police to arrive.

“Working in Buckingham Palace is a posting before retirement, opening and shutting doors, and clearly the two policemen coming towards me hadn’t made an arrest in years,” he said. “One had his hat on askew, while the other was patting his pockets looking for a notebook.”

Eventually, police decided that Fagan wasn’t a threat and were satisfied.

He claimed that he wanted to speak to the Queen, but he wasn’t allowed to speak with her further.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is an Assistant Editor who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics. Since graduating from Rutgers University, he spends most of his free time gaming or playing Quadball. Keep up with his rants about current events on his Twitter.