In a stunning breach of security, an intruder posing as a priest not only was allowed onto the grounds of Windsor Castle—now the Queen’s primary residence—but spent the night in Windsor’s Victoria Barracks, housing for the soldiers who protect the Queen while she is at Windsor. (Her Majesty, thankfully, wasn’t at Windsor at the time; she was still away at the Sandringham Estate, where she visited for her 96th birthday.)
The breach happened on April 26, when a man dressed as a priest “claimed to be a friend of the Coldstream Guards’ military chaplain,” according to PEOPLE. “He was allowed inside without showing identification, where he reportedly spent the evening eating and drinking with senior officers.”
Within a couple of hours, the intruder—who identified himself as “Father Cruise”—was drinking with the officers in the bar and telling them stories of how he had served in Iraq, a source told TalkTV, per PEOPLE.
“He was telling lots of tall stories and the lads were enjoying his banter and having a few drinks,” the source said. “It was only later when he started talking about how he had worked as an ejector-seat test pilot and had some organs replaced that the chaps started to get suspicious.”
It wasn’t until 9:20 the next morning (!) that a report of an intruder at Victoria Barracks (finally) came in. The man was removed and “no further action was required,” said a spokesperson for the Thames Valley Police. The Queen returned from her visit to Sandringham just hours later. (A source notes that there was no breach of security at Windsor Castle and there was no breach of royal security.)
However, and rightfully so, there is now an investigation into the security breach underway, according to a spokesperson for the British Army, who told PEOPLE “The Army takes this breach of security extremely seriously and it will be thoroughly investigated as a matter of priority. This incident is now part of an ongoing investigation, and it would therefore be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”
This isn’t the first breach of security on royal grounds, and not even the first in the past 365 days. In 2021, an intruder with a crossbow was arrested on the Windsor Castle grounds as Her Majesty and other members of the royal family, including Prince Charles and Camilla, celebrated Christmas at Windsor. And viewers of The Crown likely remember the storyline about Michael Fagan, who was able to brazenly enter the Queen’s Buckingham Palace bedroom in 1982.
Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the weekend editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.
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