The terrifying moment the Queen woke up to an intruder in her bedroom

Catriona Harvey-Jenner
·2-min read
Photo credit: Max Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images
Photo credit: Max Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

There are a lot of perks that come with being The Queen: the palaces you get to live in, the gowns you get to wear, the chefs who cook you delicious food whenever you want. But then there are the downsides, like the safety risks that go hand in hand with being one of the most high profile people in the whole world.

And Queen Elizabeth has certainly had her fair share of alarms over the years. One particularly scary incident took place in 1982, involving an intruder breaking into Her Majesty's actual bedroom and coming face-to-face with her in the dead of night. The major security breach, which saw a then-32-year-old out-of-work painter and decorator named Michael Fagan scale the railings at Buckingham Palace, is documented in the new series of The Crown, released on Netflix this Sunday, 15 November.

To break into the palace, Fagan climbed over the gates of the Palace, before shimmying up a drainpipe and entering the building through an open window. He wandered around for a short time, before entering a room he didn't believe to be the Queen's - because it didn't look grand enough. "She never had a four-poster bed. And she’s got a little thing where she does her teas and coffees," Fagan, now 70, recently told the Telegraph.

Photo credit: R. Brigden - Getty Images
Photo credit: R. Brigden - Getty Images

In series 4 of The Crown, Olivia Colman plays the Queen during the startling incident. Creator of the show, Peter Morgan, used artistic licence in his portrayal of what went on, and chose to depict the monarch having an extended conversation with her trespasser. In reality, however, Fagan says he exchanged nothing more than a few words with a shocked Elizabeth II.

"I pulled back the curtain and she said, 'What are you doing here?'" recalled Fagan, adding that the Queen's tone of voice was "normal," just "like me and you." As you might expect, it didn't take long for the royal to make an escape from the room, seeking out help from her footmen.

Michael Fagan was arrested at the scene but wasn't charged, because trespass was not a criminal offence at the time. He did go on to be sent to a psychiatric hospital for three months, however. As for why he decided to break into the Queen's bedroom, the infamous intruder still has no real reason - aside from feeling "frustrated by joblessness and the break-up of his marriage," notes the Telegraph piece.

What an eventful night it must have been for the Queen.

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