A 19-year-old intruder armed with a crossbow who broke into Windsor Castle, where Queen Elizabeth II is spending Christmas, has been arrested and detained for mental health treatment, police said Sunday.
“Security processes were triggered within moments of the man entering the grounds and he did not enter any buildings,” said a statement from London’s Metropolitan Police.
“Following a search of the man, a crossbow was recovered,” it added.
Queen’s ‘low-key Christmas’
The incident happened as the Queen spent a low-key Christmas Day at Windsor Castle, west of London, with her eldest son and heir to the throne Prince Charles and his wife Camilla.
Local police on Saturday said they had found a 19-year-old man at 0830 GMT on Christmas Day.
The teenager was arrested on suspicion of breach or trespass of a protected site and possession of an offensive weapon.
“The man was taken into custody and has undergone a mental health assessment – he has since been sectioned under the Mental Health Act and remains in the care of medical professionals,” said the Metropolitan police.
The Mental Health Act allows the authorities in England and Wales to detain and treat people with mental health issues without their consent.
Those held under the legislation are deemed to be a risk to themselves or others.
The Sunday Mirror newspaper said CCTV operators spotted a man carrying what appeared to be a crossbow, while the Mail on Sunday said the man used a rope ladder to scale a fence.
“We can confirm security processes were triggered within moments of the man entering the grounds and he did not enter any buildings,” police said on Saturday.
“Members of the royal family have been informed about the incident.”
Although the intruder appears to have been intercepted early, it recalls an earlier, more serious intrusion in 1982.
On that occasion, the intruder – a man in his 30s – entered Queen Elizabeth’s private chambers at Buckingham Palace while she was in bed before police apprehended him.
In July, a man was arrested after scaling the gates of the Palace.
And in 2020, a homeless man scaled the walls and bedded down for the night in the grounds before being caught.
A quieter Christmas
The Queen usually celebrates Christmas at her Sandringham estate in eastern England, but she remained at Windsor Castle this year after the trip was cancelled as a precautionary measure.
The 95-year-old’s daughter Princess Anne was isolating after her husband tested positive for coronavirus, with Britain this week registering record-high case numbers fuelled by the Omicron variant.
British tabloid The Sun had reported that 16 family members would join the Queen for Christmas, while her grandson Prince William would stay with his family in southeastern England.
Elizabeth was also marking her first Christmas without her husband of 73 years Prince Philip, who died aged 99 in April and was Britain’s longest-serving consort.
The monarch paid tribute to Philip in her traditional Christmas Day message to the nation broadcast on Saturday, referring to “one familiar laugh missing this year”.
The Queen, already Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, is due to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee next year to mark 70 years since her accession to the throne in 1952.
© Agence France-Presse