The Queen of England, Home Security and You

Buckingham Palace stands in its own grounds in the heart of London, England. It is possibly the number one ‘must see’ of the thousands upon thousands of tourists that visit London each year.

With its ceremonial guards with their red tunics and tall, bearskin hats, Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of the British royal family as well as being a base for visiting dignitaries and Heads of State. So you would expect security at the palace to be nothing less than top notch, and today it probably is.

However, in the early 1980’s it was perhaps a different story.

Early in the morning of July 9th, 1982, unemployed Michael Fagan somehow managed to scale a fourteen-foot wall, set with spikes, in a remote corner of Buckingham Palace. He was actually spotted climbing over the wall by an off-duty police officer and the alarm was raised. However the intruder was not found by a search of the grounds, and it must have been assumed that he had climbed back over the wall and made his escape.

But Michael Fagan was still at large within the palace, in fact he found an open window and clambered in. It was not the intruder’s intention to steal because inside the room was a stamp collection valued at a cool $20 million which he left alone. Finding that the door leading from the room to the rest of the palace was locked the unemployed man climbed back out of the window.

Amazingly an alarm had been triggered both when Fagan climbed in the window, and when he climbed out again, but the in-house police officer attending the alarm made the assumption that it had malfunctioned and twice switched it off!

Michael Fagan was determined that his adventure at Buckingham Palace was to continue because he managed to find another open window, this one with a convenient drainpipe leading to it. Up he went. This window brought Fagan into the room of the man who was responsible for the security of Queen Elizabeth II, and this time the door leading out of the room was unlocked.

The intruder was then able to wander unchallenged along the vast corridors of the palace, as he did so he admired many of the valuable paintings that adorn the walls. He entered a few unoccupied rooms and then, by chance, entered the bedroom of her majesty the Queen.

Does all this have anything to do with the security of your home? It does, read on.

The Queen’s bedroom should have been guarded. At night an armed police officer stood in front of the door but his shift had ended and he left before being relieved by an unarmed footman who guarded the room by day. The footman was delayed because he was out walking the Queen’s corgis.

When Fagan disturbed a curtain the Queen awoke and, although she must have been extremely shocked to find a stranger in the royal bedchamber, remained calm. News reports of the time stated that Fagan sat on the end of the bed and chatted to the Queen, mainly about family matters. After about ten minutes he asked her majesty for a cigarette. This gave the Queen reason to reach for the telephone and she was able to summon a footman who restrained Michael Fagan.

You can imagine the outcry about the insufficient, and lackadaisical, security at the palace this incident caused, the British press was full of the news for some time. Imagine too, the further panic caused when it was revealed that this was actually the second time that Michael Fagan had unlawfully entered Buckingham Palace. Just one month previously he had helped himself to a bottle of Prince Charles’ wine.

Naturally, this led to a complete review and upgrading of security at all royal residences, the British monarchy determined that no similar incident should ever happen again.

So where does you and the security of your home fit into this story? No doubt that your home is a nice one. It may not have the ceremonial guards, the staterooms, royal treasures and endless corridors of Buckingham Palace but it is a palace to you and your family. Is your home security insufficient and lackadaisical? Could an intruder enter your home as easily as Michael Fagan had entered the royal residence?

Remember that an intruder would likely have far more wicked intent than sitting on the end of your bed chatting to you. Make a review of your security now. Are you doing all that you can to ensure that your home is as best protected as it can be? Don’t be like the British Monarchy and leave it until after the event.