Britain’s Prince Andrew was challenged by jittery royal protection officers in the gardens of Buckingham Palace last week as they stepped up security following a break-in, police admitted yesterday.
The Duke of York, the third child of Queen Elizabeth II, was approached by two armed officers as he took an evening stroll on Wednesday at the monarch’s official London residence, a spokesman for Scotland Yard said.
However, the spokesman denied a newspaper report that the officers had pointed guns at the 53-year-old duke and shouted at him to get down on the ground.
“On Wednesday, 4 September at approximately 1800 hours two uniformed officers approached a man in the gardens of Buckingham Palace to verify his identity,” the spokesman said.
“The man was satisfactorily identified. No weapons were drawn and no force was used,” he added.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the incident.
Police said on Saturday they had arrested a man who scaled a fence to get into Buckingham Palace.
No members of the royal family were in the palace at the time of the incident on Monday night, a spokesman for London’s Metropolitan Police said.
The man was found “in an area currently open to the public during the day” and arrested for burglary, trespassing and criminal damage, the spokesman said.
A second man was arrested outside the palace for conspiracy to commit burglary.
“A review of the specific circumstances of this incident is being carried out,” the police spokesman said.
Both men were bailed to return to a London police station at a later date.
It was not immediately clear why the incident had only come to light five days after it happened.
It is one of the most serious security breaches at the palace since 1982, when unemployed Michael Fagan got inside the queen’s private chambers while she was in bed.
Fagan spent 10 minutes talking to the queen after climbing over the palace walls and up a drainpipe, and she raised the alarm when Fagan asked for a cigarette.
Queen Elizabeth, 87, is currently spending her summer break at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.