Thirty-seven years ago today, on the morning of 9 July 1982, thirty-three year-old Michael Fagan (a depressed father of three whose marriage was falling apart) scaled the fourteen foot walls of Buckingham Palace and shimmied up a drainpipe: he then entered the palace through a window and somehow made his way into the bedroom of HM The Queen. Along the way, Fagan had broken a glass ashtray, cut his hand in the process, and was still carrying a piece of the glass when he entered the royal chamber.
The Queen was asleep and only awoke and became aware of Fagan’s presence in her room when he moved a curtain. By all accounts, the Queen handled the situation with aplomb and a cool sense of calm. She used the telephone next to her bed to call for a policeman; when one did not arrive after six minutes, she phoned again. Her Majesty was able to get the attention of a maid who had been cleaning a nearby room, and, together, they took Fagan to a pantry on the pretence of finding Fagan a cigarette, which he had requested to calm his nerves. Next to arrive was a footman, who had been out walking the royal corgis – the Queen then had to keep her dogs away from Fagan, who was in a sufficient state of agitation. Finally, two policemen arrived, and Mr Fagan was arrested, not for trespassing, but for the theft of a bottle of wine. He went on to spend some time in a psychiatric hospital.
|Report from The Guardian on 12 July 1982
The Fagan break-in lead to an extensive review of the security measures in place at Buckingham Palace by Scotland Yard. The text of the findings can be read at this link: TEXT OF SCOTLAND YARD’S REPORT ON JULY 9 INTRUSION INTO BUCKINGHAM PALACE