Queen Elizabeth Had Panic Rooms Installed Inside Her Royal Homes But Security Is Still an Issue

A scary incident occurred at Queen Elizabeth II‘s Windsor Castle home on Christmas Day when a man showed up with a crossbow. Authorities believe the suspect, Jaswant Singh Chail, went to the property with the intention to harm the monarch. This has now raised questions about the queen’s safety inside her royal residences.

Queen Elizabeth II walks past Commonwealth flags in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle
Queen Elizabeth II walks past Commonwealth flags in St George’s Hall at Windsor Castle | Steve Parsons – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Intruders have gotten into Queen Elizabeth’s residences before

One would think that a palace housing the Queen of the United Kingdom would have state-of-the-art security and be a difficult place to break into but security has been breached at Queen Elizabeth’s residences a number of times.

As The Mirror noted, back in 1982 a man named Michael Fagan broke into Buckingham Palace. Fagan is believed to have scaled 14-foot barbed-wire-topped walls, then climbed a drainpipe to the roof, and entered the palace through an open window before finding his way to where the royal family matriarch was sleeping. Once inside the queen’s room, he opened the curtains which startled her awake and she pressed the alarm. Queen Elizabeth’s footman was returning from walking the dogs and came to his boss’s aide. After his arrest, Fagan was sent to a psychiatric facility.

In 2019, The Sun reported that a similar incident took place when a 22-year-old man got onto the grounds of the London palace after scaling a fence. The monarch was home at the time which is something the perpetrator knew because the royal standard flag was flying.

“There was an intruder at the palace while the queen lay sleeping in her bedroom and he was on the loose before the cops arrested him,” a royal source told the publication. “He was determined to get inside the palace and was banging down the doors but, thank goodness, everything was locked up.”

Panic rooms have been installed in Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II peering out a palace window | Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

Incidents involving intruders have left many to wonder how safe the palaces really are and if they are specific areas, such as panic rooms, the queen can retreat to.

According to a report in the Independent, Queen Elizabeth did have panic rooms installed in Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. Both were put in following the September 11 attacks in 2001. The terrorism-proof rooms replaced old much smaller safe spaces family members could hide in if they needed to.

The new rooms are encased in 18-inch thick steel walls and are designed to protect anyone in there from things like poison gas and bomb attacks. They’re also equipped with secure communications, beds, and stocked with enough food and water for the royals to survive for at least a week.

Security must be ‘reassessed’ at the queen’s primary home

Queen Elizabeth II standing in front of Windsor Castle
Queen Elizabeth II standing in front of Windsor Castle | Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage

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While the panic rooms are inside the queen’s properties it is not known where they are located and how easy they are to get to in case of an emergency. And that leaves major security concerns at Windsor castle.

The castle has been the queen’s primary residence since she left Buckingham Palace during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown in March 2020 and now a royal expert says the protocols there need to be “reassessed.”

“It’s a very concerning issue that they are going to have to look into because this is the third intruder in the Windsor estate in the last year,” Daily Mirror royal editor Russell Myers said during an episode of Pod Save the Queen. “[It is the] fourth if you count Prince Andrew being accosted by a woman who ran up to his car and started banging on the window a couple of weeks ago. But there’s been several other major instances … And from the people, we then spoke to after this issue with the crossbow, people such as Dai Davies, such as Ken Wharfe, former bodyguards of the royal family, and they said there will need to be a major reassessment of the queen’s safety at Windsor Castle. Because it’s always been, I think, an issue for security, because of the makeup of the land and the building, it’s not necessarily as fortified as somewhere like Buckingham Palace.”