Breaking Into the Queen’s Bedroom
In the summer of 1982, a 33-year old unemployed royal fanatic twice scaled a 14-foot wall topped with barbed wire and revolving spikes, shimmied up a drainpipe, entered Buckingham Palace through unlocked windows, sat on the Queen’s throne and even enjoyed a brief tête-à-tête with Her Majesty.
Michael Fagan was born on August 8, 1948 in London. Married in 1972, at the time he broke into the Palace, Michael had four children ages 3 to 10. Although previously having worked as a decorator and painter, Michael was out of work when he began planning his break-ins.
Telling his mother that he was visiting his “girlfriend – Elizabeth Regina,” Fagan made 12 trips to the Palace in the months before his eventual intrusion. For his first break-in, in June of 1982, Fagan claimed he had entered the Palace through the window of a maid’s room; and, although she immediately reported the break-in, when security personnel were unable to find him, they assumed she imagined it.
Fagan then says he spent the rest of that evening exploring the Queen’s home, finding the rooms of both Prince Charles and Princess Diana. There for awhile and unable to locate a water closet, Fagan claims he peed in the corgi food. He also says he drunk some wine he found in Prince Charles’ room. Feeling like, in his words, Goldilocks, Fagan also took turns sitting on several thrones.
Although he claims it was harder getting out than in, Fagan said he eventually left through the back gardens and, once again, simply climbed over a wall.
The day after the first intrusion, Fagan tried to steal a car and was imprisoned for three weeks before being released on bail. He entered the Palace for the second time the next day.
Beginning at about 7:00 a.m., Fagan once again scaled the wall and climbed up a drainpipe, this time to the roof of the Palace where he left his sandals and socks. He shimmied across a narrow ledge and entered the building through another unlocked window.
Fagan then, in his words, “follow[ed] the pictures,” to determine which apartments were the Queen’s. During this time, Fagan set off at least one alarm, which was ignored; it was later determined that several other alarms had been improperly installed.
In any event, at about 7:15 a.m., he broke a glass ashtray and then carried one of the shards with him into the Queen’s bedroom where “he intended to slash his wrists in the presence of Her Majesty.”
After he opened the curtains near her bed, Queen Elizabeth pressed the night alarm, but due several coincidences, no one was there to hear, or respond to, it: the night watchman had already gone home, and the domestic help that normally would have been in the pantry to hear the alarm were cleaning another room and walking the dogs, respectively.
Fagan claims that the Queen was wearing a knee-length Liberty print nightie when she exclaimed, “Wawrt are you doing here?!” She then telephoned for help at about 7:18 a.m., but assistance was late in arriving, so the Queen, with the assistance of a maid, coerced Fagan into a pantry by saying he could find a cigarette there.
Finally locating a footman, the Queen and the maid left him in charge of Fagan; the footman not only supplied Fagan with cigarettes, but, at least according to Fagan, also gave him a glass of the Queen’s Famous Grouse whiskey that she kept on hand. According to the official report, the Queen remained on the scene but was occupied with keeping her corgis away from Fagan, who was becoming increasingly agitated.
Fagan later claimed that his brief foray into breaking and entering was the result of taking too many “magic mushrooms,” from which he was still high.
In the end, Fagan wasn’t charged for the break-ins, although he spent time in mental institution for psychiatric evaluation in 1982.
After the break-in, Fagan continued to get into trouble with authorities, including assaulting a police officer and dealing heroin. In 1987, he was charged with indecent exposure, although, according to Fagan, he had simply removed his pants when he dove into the water to retrieve some tackle (he had been fishing, and smoking pot, with some friends). Although the in-court testimony from the female witness was that he had “a huge erection,” Fagan challenged this, noting “‘her husband must be like that’ . . . measuring a tiny distance with his thumb and forefinger.”
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