Michael Fagan successfully broke into Buckingham Palace twice (Picture: Rex)
In The Crown season 4, the story of Michael Fagan, the palace intruder, becomes a central character in one of the episodes.
Breaking into Buckingham Palace back in 1982, Fagan unwittingly accomplished one of the greatest security breaches in its history, making it to the Queen’s bedroom and speaking with her before being caught.
Unemployed and desperate, scenes in The Crown show Fagan (played by Tom Brooke) and Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Colman) having a confrontation after she wakes up to find him at the foot of her bed, and over the course of the evening, the pair end up talking.
The meeting ultimately spurs on the Queen’s feelings of animosity towards Thatcher (Gillian Anderson).
But is that really what happened? And what did the pair actually talk about?
Here’s the true story of the palace intruder, and what led him to that eventful night…
What happened when Michael Fagan broke into Buckingham Palace?
In 1982, Michael Fagan was an unemployed painter and decorator.
He actually managed to break into the palace twice, the first time managing to slip in and out of the grounds without detection.
The first time, Fagan broke in through an unlocked window on the roof, and spent the time eating cheddar cheese and crackers, drinking half a bottle of wine, and wandering around the palace.
This was about a month before his second attempt, which occurred on July 9, when he broke in again and found himself in the Queen’s bedroom, startling her awake.
Speaking to The Telegraph ahead of the show’s release, he joked: ‘There’s plenty of people who’ve knelt before the Queen but there’s not many who’ve sat on her bed and had a chat, is there?’
To this day, Fagan doesn’t really know why he broke in (Picture: Redferns)
However, he added that the incident was over with quickly, after she woke up, and then ran to get a butler, who gave him a whisky before the police came and got him.
‘She talks like me and you, normal,’ he said. ‘Well, I sound a bit common so maybe not like that. But very normal.’
What happened to Michael Fagan after the intrusion?
After his brush with royalty, Fagan was released without charge, as at the time it was a civil offence, not a criminal one to trespass.
He was however, committed to a mental health facility for three months.
In the years that have followed, he’s been arrested a number of times, including a jail term in 1997 when he was charged alongside his wife and 20-year-old son for conspiring to supply heroin.
An artist’s recreation of the incident from 1982 shows a bleeding Fagan talking to the Queen before she calls for help (Picture: Getty)
In 2011, he appeared in Banksy series The Antics Roadshow to talk about what happened, but to this day, he maintains that he doesn’t know why he broke into the palace.
He is now living in Islington, North London, with his partner of 17 years, and is recovery from both a heart attack, and coronavirus.
Was Fagan involved in the making of The Crown season 4?
No. During his chat with The Telegraph, Fagan confirmed that he was not contacted about the episode or consulted in any way.
As a result, he said that while he agreed with his on-screen persona being anti-Thatcher, the team used ‘artistic licence’ in the portrayal of the event.
The Crown season 14 launches Sunday November 15 on Netflix.
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