We know that members of the royal family are well protected and their homes are tightly guarded with tons of security, which is why the story of an intruder breaking into Queen Elizabeth II‘s residence is almost unreal. Oh and he didn’t just break into Buckingham Palace once, he did it twice and the second time made it into Her Majesty’s bedroom where she had been sleeping.
This is the story of what happened when the queen awoke to a strange man in her room and what the perp, Michael Fagan, said years later about the encounter.
What happened when Fagan broke in?
One of the worst royal security breaches ever occurred on the morning hours of July 9, 1982. According to Scotland Yard’s report, Fagan was seen “on the railings near the gates to the ambassadors’ entrance at about 6:45 a.m.” He jumped over the railings and got in through an unlocked window on the ground floor. The room he found himself in housed the $20 million Royal Stamp Collection.
However, the doors in that room were locked and he couldn’t gain access to the rest of the building so Fagan climbed back out the window and scaled a drainpipe to the roof where he entered the palace through another unlocked window.
Fagan wondered through the corridors for several minutes unnoticed by palace staffers. He then broke a glass ashtray before he reached Queen Elizabeth’s bedroom. He later claimed that he was going to slash his wrists with the broken glass in front of Her Majesty. When he actually got into her bedroom he opened the curtains which startled the monarch and she calmly pressed the alarm.
No one came to her aid at that moment though because her footman, Paul Whybrew, was out walking her corgis.
Fagan said that the queen screamed at him, “What are you doing here?!” and “ran out of the room.”
What Fagan said about his encounter with the queen
When the queen’s dutyman returned from walking the dogs, he kept Fagan there before two police officers arrived and cuffed him. Upon his arrest, Fagan admitted to law enforcement officials that the incident was the second time he broke into the palace.
Months after the incident, he did an interview with the Daily Star and set the record straight on some of the rumors that had been circulating about what happened the night he ended up in the queen’s room
“All that stuff that’s been written about her wearing a wig, a babydoll nightie, and whispering sweet nothings is rubbish,” Fagan said, adding, “It’s not even worth thinking about.”
In 2018 he told the Islington Gazette, “I tried to keep it sterile and said she was wearing a liberty print nightie down to her knees even though I didn’t notice what it was.”
He also said he wasn’t a fan of the palace’s decor and thought the place was a bit “dusty.”
Fagan blamed his actions on going through a rough time in his life when he was unemployed and his wife left him. He was never charged with trespassing in the queen’s bedroom, only theft since he revealed that he helped himself to Prince Charles’ wine. He was ultimately sent to a psychiatric hospital where he spent six months.
Where was Prince Philip that night?
For anyone wondering where the queen’s husband, Prince Philip, was while a strange man was hanging out in the bedroom, well he was reportedly sleeping in another room because they don’t share a bedroom.
“In England, the upper class always have had separate bedrooms. You don’t want to be bothered with snoring or someone flinging a leg around,” explained the queen’s cousin, Lady Pamela Hicks. “Then when you are feeling cozy you share your room sometimes. It is lovely to be able to choose.”
The arrangement obviously works well for Her Majesty and Philip who have been married for more than 70 years. However, it does make you wonder how different Fagan’s reaction would have been if Prince Philip was in the room with his wife that night.