Royal Watch: Intruder Alert!
One might think that security around the British royal family would be watertight, but sometimes the frailties are all too evident.
By Chris Ritchie
In 1982, unemployed father-of-four Michael Fagan climbed up a drainpipe and broke into the Queen’s bedroom in Buckingham Palace, where he stayed chatting to her for 10 minutes (although he refutes the fact, suggesting that he was quickly ushered into a nearby pantry). Whatever the case, the alarm bells rang louder than ever in the British royal household. How could anyone be allowed to enter the very heart of the British royals’ territory?
Of course, that incident is not alone. The latest audacious attempt took place at the start of September. Two men were arrested following an attempted break-in at Buckingham Palace, apparently with the aim of stealing the Coronation Jewels.
There have been other recent attempts to breach royal security. In 2011, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, Charles and Camilla, were attacked in their car by a mob of angry students, protesting against higher tuition fees. Someone managed to poke Camilla with a stick through an open window.
Further back in 1994, while attending a ceremony in Sydney, Australia, Charles was charged at by a man firing a starting pistol. Charles reacted very calmly as two local officials dealt with the trouble. And in 1981, even more audaciously, someone fired blank shots at the Queen, who was riding a horse, during the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony, while Princess Anne was lucky to escape a kidnap attempt in 1974 when her car was targeted.
Although the motivation is often unclear – mental illness seems to figure in most of the security breaches – there’s a clear lesson here: the royals will always be targets for those looking to make a name for themselves.