LONDON — British police on Saturday said that an armed intruder was arrested on Christmas morning on the grounds of Windsor Castle, the main residence of Queen Elizabeth II, where the British monarch was celebrating Christmas.
“The man has been arrested on suspicion of breach or trespass of a protected site and possession of an offensive weapon. “He remains in custody at the moment,” Thames Valley Police Superintendent Rebecca Mears stated in a statement. It was not clear what weapon he used.
The 19-year-old man from Southampton was arrested after he was found entering the grounds of the castle at around 8: 30 a.m., police said. He didn’t enter any buildings.
“Members of the royal family have been informed about the incident,” Mears said. “We do not believe there is a wider danger to the public.”
A spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace declined to comment, saying it was a matter for the police.
“[S]ecurity processes were triggered within moments of the man entering the grounds,” police said in a statement posted online.
Other security breaches have occurred at Windsor this year. A couple were arrested in May after they entered the Windsor Estate grounds. The Times of London reported that they were found near the spot where the queen walks her dogs.
One of the best known royal security breaches over the years occurred in 1982, when 31-year-old Michael Fagan broke into Buckingham Palace. As depicted in an episode of “The Crown,” Fagan reached the queen’s bedroom and spent several minutes chatting with the monarch.
The queen had been planning to host a Christmas gathering this year at her Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England. But those plans were scrapped, for the second year in a row, after a surge in coronavirus infections. On Saturday, the number of confirmed daily cases reached a new record.
Instead, the queen spent Christmas Day at Windsor Castle, her main residence since the start of the pandemic in 2020. A small number of her family, including Prince Charles and Camilla, were there to support her.
This was the queen’s first Christmas since the death of her husband, Prince Philip, in April at age 99. The queen paid tribute to him in her annual Christmas Day speech, which was broadcast Saturday but recorded last week.
Referring to Philip, the queen said that there was “one familiar laugh missing this year.”