An investigation is under way after an intruder managed to gain access to Windsor Castle's army barracks and spend the night by disguising himself as a priest.
The man introduced himself as Father Cruise and claimed to be a friend of Reverend Matt Coles, a chaplain for the Coldstream Guards, which is a regiment of the British Army.
Dressed in priest vestments, the man was allowed entry into the barracks, which has been Queen Elizabeth's main base since the start of the pandemic, without identification and spent the evening drinking and eating with senior officers.
The impostor even told stories of how he'd served time in Iraq.
“He was telling lots of tall stories and the lads were enjoying his banter and having a few drinks,” a source says.
“It was only later when he started talking about how he'd worked as an ejector-seat test pilot and had some organs replaced that the chaps started to get suspicious.”
Despite their doubts, the intruder still managed to stay the night and police were only called at 9:20am the following day.
“Officers attended and removed the intruder from the barracks,” a Thames Valley Police spokesperson says. “No further action was required.”
The queen was celebrating her 96th birthday at her Sandringham Estate in Norfolk about 200km away when the incident occurred last week. She returned to Windsor Castle three hours after the trespasser was removed by police.
“The army takes this breach of security extremely seriously and it will be thoroughly investigated as a matter of priority,” a spokesperson for the British Army says.
This isn’t the first time an unwelcome guest has entered royal residence grounds.
In 1982 a painter called Michael Fagan infamously broke into Buckingham Palace and entered the queen’s bedroom. Over the years several incidents of a similar nature have occurred but fortunately none of the invaders gained access to Her Majesty as Fagan did.
In 2016 a convicted murderer gained access to the gardens of Buckingham Palace. Denis Hennessy was jailed to four months behind bars for spending 10 minutes on the palace grounds.
Most recently, an intruder with a crossbow was arrested on the grounds of Windsor Castle as the queen and members of the royal family celebrated Christmas in 2021.
He allegedly used a rope ladder to scale a metal fence and enter the gardens.