It was already no doubt a strange Christmas for the Queen in 2021, her first in over 70 years without her ‘strength and stay’, the late Duke of Edinburgh, by her side. Add to that the threat of an intruder stalking the grounds of her home with a crossbow, and it becomes a very surreal and dramatic occasion indeed.
20-year-old Southampton resident Jaswant Singh Chail broke into the grounds of Windsor Castle, where Her Majesty was spending the festive season, with the ‘intent to injure’. As such, he was charged yesterday under section 2 of the Treason Act 1842, as well as with threats to kill under section 16 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 and possession of an offensive weapon under section 1 of the Prevention of Crime Act 1953. Currently remanded in custody, he will next appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 17 August.
While he was unable to access any of the buildings before getting caught, it was undoubtedly a troubling time for the royal and her family, including the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, who would have been having their Christmas morning breakfast at the time of the break-in, which occurred at 8.30am.
It is not the first time that the Queen has had to deal with an intruder. On 9 July 1982, a painter and decorator named Michael Fagan broke in to Buckingham Palace, entering the monarch’s bedroom at approximately 7.15am and waking her up, with security arriving shortly afterwards. It wasn’t the first time he’d managed it: a week earlier he claimed to have shimmied up a drainpipe to gain entry, eating cheese and crackers on the roof and walking around like a tourist undisturbed. He even claimed to have helped himself to a half-drunk bottle of wine, and spotted gifts for the newborn Prince William in the post room. The shocking event was dramatised for an episode of The Crown in season 3.