The incident will generate its share of comments across the Channel in the days to come. A young man, 19, was arrested after breaking into the grounds of Windsor Castle on the outskirts of London on Saturday, where Elisabeth II was spending Christmas, police said. The Thames Valley Police said it intervened around 8:30 a.m. following a security alert. « We can confirm that the security procedures were triggered a few moments after the man entered the site and that he did not enter any building, » reassure the police.
The suspect, originally from Southampton, in the south of England, was « arrested on suspicion of trespassing in a protected site and possession of a weapon ». According to
Daily Mirror, the suspect was spotted on surveillance cameras carrying a crossbow. « The security agents could not believe their eyes, » said a security source to the tabloid, adding that an important security device had been deployed « to ensure the safety of the queen who was in her personal quarters » .
A reminiscence of 1982
According to the newspaper, « a major reassessment of security procedures » is to be expected after the incident. The Mail on Sunday claims that in addition to the crossbow, the suspect was fitted with a rope ladder used to cross metal barriers. He clarified that while crossbows are considered lethal weapons in the UK, wearing them does not require any license or registration.
« Members of the royal family have been informed of the incident, » police added. In 1982, a similar incident took place: Michael Fagan, an unemployed painter and decorator, had managed to break into Buckingham Palace and meet the Queen face to face.
First Christmas without Philip
Queen Elisabeth II, 95, is spending the holiday season in Windsor, now her main residence, after having given up on traveling as she usually does to Sandringham, in the east of England, in due to the resurgence of Covid-19 in the UK due to the Omicron variant.
The sovereign, on her first Christmas since the death of her husband Philip in April at the age of 99, was joined on Saturday by several family members including her sons Charles and Edward and the wives of the latter. In a very personal Christmas greetings this year, recorded in Windsor and broadcast on Saturday, Elisabeth II paid tribute to the late Prince Philip, confident she missed him.