Michael Fagan may not be a familiar name to many but he definitely has a place in the history books. He is a British man who broke into Buckingham Palace, not once but twice during 1982. During his first entry, he simply left after stealing a bottle of wine. Yet his second attempt is the more known entry as he went into the Queen’s bedroom and even spoke to her.
Born in 1948, he was the son of a steel builder and champion safe-breaker. This may be why Fagan found entry to a heavily guarded building so simple. However, he didn’t have a very happy childhood and ran away at 18 to escape a violent father. Working as a painter, Fagan married and started a family. But during the late 1970s, it seems he fell into long-term unemployment. During this time he joined the Workers Revolutionary Party and it was apparent he was unhappy with the current affairs of the country.
In June 1982, he climbed up a drainpipe and entered Buckingham Palace through a roof window. Fagan claims he walked around for 30 minutes or so, eating cheese and crackers. He even drank half a bottle of wine and was able to view several royal portraits. Along with entering a postroom where Princess Diana had hidden several presents for William (who had just been born). Apparently, a startled housemaid raised the alarm but Fagan made himself scarce before the guards arrived. The guards reportedly never believed the housemaid’s reports so didn’t think to upgrade security much at all.
A week later Fagan made his infamous second entry, scaling the 14-foot perimeter wall and climbing up a drainpipe. He entered the Queen’s bedroom at around 7:15 AM on the 9th of July 1982. Alarm sensors did go off, but police thought they were faulty so simply turned them off. Though reports do state Fagan sat down on her bed and talked to the Queen, he says this was not true. As per his account, the Queen left immediately to get security. Fagan was then removed from the building and arrested for theft.
At the time, this would have been a civil wrong and not a criminal offense. It was only later in 2007, that Buckingham Palace became a designed site that would immediately render trespassing a criminal offense. Therefore, Fagan did not face much trouble though he did have to subject himself to three months in a psychiatric hospital.