What happened when a stranger managed to make his way into the Queen's bedroom? Find out on Unknown History.
On the night of July, 8 1982, Queen Elizabeth II slipped into her nightdress and climbed into bed, safe in the knowledge that she lived in one of the most secure buildings in the world. Her bedroom was guarded by an armed policeman, there were alarms in most of the rooms and the extensive Buckingham Palace gardens were surrounded by a fourteen-foot wall topped with spikes and barbed wire. It was inconceivable that such elaborate security could be breached.
But not everyone shared that view. Just a few weeks earlier, a Londoner named Michael Fagan had brought his children to see the outside of the queen’s palace and had been surprised by how few security guards were on duty. He began to wonder if it would be possible to get inside the place.
At around 6 a.m. on July 9, 1982 he scaled the perimeter wall and jumped down into the gardens of the palace. When he looked towards the building, he noticed an open window on the west side. He clambered inside and found himself in a locked room that housed King George V’s stamp collection.
Unable to enter the rest of the palace, he climbed back outside and pulled himself up a drainpipe that led to the office of the man responsible for the Queen’s security. He had by now triggered two alarms, but the police assumed the system was malfunctioning and they turned it off—twice.
Fagan walked along one of the upper floor corridors admiring the paintings and passing a palace housekeeper who said ‘good morning’ to him. A few minutes later, he found himself outside the queen’s bedroom.
Her room should have been under guard, but the night shift of the policeman on duty had just ended and the footman replacing him had not yet arrived (he was walking the Queen’s corgis). Astonishingly, Fagan was able to enter the bedroom undetected.
What happened next? To find out, listen to the full episode of our podcast, Unknown History, in the top right hand player of this page or on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify. Plus, connect with Giles on Twitter and Facebook.
This post is roughly excerpted from When Churchill Slaughtered Sheep and Stalin Robbed a Bank. You can order a copy of the book, which is now available,on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, Books-a-Million, and Apple. Check here for more on other books by Giles Milton.
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