THESE days, the thought of anyone breaking into Buckingham Palace and speaking to the Queen would be seen as laughable.
But one day in 1980s, that's exactly what Londoner Michael Fagan did.
Who is Michael Fagan?
Michael, who was born on August 8, 1948, was known in the 80s as "the palace prowler" after he managed to break into the Queen’s bedroom because he thought she could help him.
The petty crook was behind the most embarrassing royal security scandal in modern history on the notorious night in 1982 when he found himself face-to-face with Her Majesty.
However, it turns out he actually broke into the palace twice.
But it was during the second break-in that he encountered the Queen.
When did Michael Fagan break into Buckingham Palace?
The incredible story began at 6.45am on Friday July 9, 1982, when Michael scaled the 10ft railings near the Ambassador’s Gate – now the entrance used by visitors to Buckingham Palace.
An off-duty policeman saw him climbing over but by the time he had alerted palace guards Michael, wearing jeans and a grubby T-shirt, could not be found.
By then, he had climbed in through an open window.
Michael triggered an alarm in the palace police control room but officers twice turned it off because they believed the system was faulty.
Most of the royals’ bedroom doors have a brass plate, with a name written on a piece of paper and slotted in.
Michael swears there was no name on the Queen’s bedroom or he would not have entered – but he did go in and woke up the sleeping royal.
He insists he never meant to cause the Queen any alarm.
Did Michael Fagan speak to The Queen?
In The Crown Michael sits on the Queen's bed, and has a full blown conversation with her – but that was not the reality.
Michael told The Sun: “I found myself inside a small room, about 12ft by 16ft, with just a double bed and a plain chest of drawers.
“I pulled back the curtains and the woman in bed sits up and says in an accent like the finest glass, ‘What are you doing here?’
“There’s the Queen in front of me. I was dumbstruck. I don’t know anyone else who wouldn’t be.
“They say she must have been frightened. I didn’t frighten her too much but I was quite shocked. She used a phone on the bedside table to call security but when nobody came she got out of bed.
“Her nightie was one of those Liberty prints and it was down to her knees. She said, ‘Just one minute, I’ll get someone’, swept past me and ran out of the room, her little bare feet running across the floor.
“She went out of the door leaving me sat on the bed, but I didn’t drip any blood on it [he had previosuly cut his hand].
"I was sat there for about three minutes and the next thing this tall footman came into the room and, swear to God, said, ‘F*** me, you look like you could do with a drink’.”
Was Michael Fagan convicted of trespassing at Buckingham Palace?
After telling officers he was the son of Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess, Michael was taken to Canon Row police station and interrogated by Special Branch detectives.
He told The Sun: “They were probably a bit worried that I had an Irish name because of the IRA but within minutes they were satisfied that I was no threat to anybody.”
Michael was never charged with trespassing and breaking into the palace because he had got in through an open window, and he believes officials did not want the Queen to give evidence in court.
But during his police interview Michael bragged that this was not even the first time he had climbed into the palace, and how he had even drunk some wine.
A jury in September 1982 took just ten minutes to find him not guilty of stealing the wine.
The incident led to questions in the Commons, an apology to the Queen from Margaret Thatcher and Home Secretary Willie Whitelaw offering his resignation.
Where is Michael Fagan now?
Researchers for The Crown did not interview Michael, who is now 70 and lucky to be alive after suffering Covid-19 and a heart attack earlier this year.
He lives in a flat in Islington, North London.
Michael is a retired decorator and told The Sun he was feeling depressed after his wife Christine ran off and left him to bring up their four young children, so he set off to see if Her Majesty could solve his problems.
In season 4 episode 5 of The Crown, Olivia Colman plays the Queen and actor Tom Brooke appears as the 31-year-old intruder.
When asked by The Sun, what he thought of the actor chose to play him, Michael told us: “He looks a bit like me but Al Pacino would have been better.
“As Netflix never spoke to me I suspect they’ll make some of the story up.
"But if they’d asked, I’d have told them the truth of what happened on the day I had my little adventure.”
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