Michael Fagan, an out-of-work painter and decorator, hit headlines around the world in 1982, when he climbed the railings at Buckingham Palace to visit the Queen. Mr Fagan shinned up a drainpipe, got in through an open window and wandered the corridors, eventually finding himself face-to-face with the monarch.
The story is know all over the world to this day, and has even been dramatized in the new series of The Crown
Speaking ahead of the drama’s release this Sunday, Mr Fagan spoke out about his experience in an interview with the Telegraph.
However, he did not seem to regret breaking into Buckingham Palace.
He told the publication: “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?”
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Mr Fagan is now 70, and recovering from a recent heart attack and the after-effects of covid.
He was found to be living in a tower block in Islington, north London.
Peter Morgan, the Netflix writer of the Crown, did not approach him to contribute to the programme.
The screen conversation between Mr Fagan (played by Tom Brooke) and the Queen (Olivia Colman) is a work of fiction.
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Mr Fagan is now 70, and recovering from a recent heart attack and the after-effects of covid
In fact, despite reports at the time that Mr Fagan engaged the monarch in a 10-minute chat, very few words were actually exchanged.
“I pulled back the curtain and she said, ‘What are you doing here?’”
However, her voice was not as Mr Fagan expected.
“She talks like me and you, normal.
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“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?”
“Well, I sound a bit common so maybe not like that. But very normal.”
The Queen did not, as the show cheekily suggests, address Mr Fagan with her favoured line in small talk: “Have you come far?”
In reality, after a short moment in which Mr Fagan sat on the bed, she told him, “I’ll be back in a minute,” and darted out of the room.
“She walked out on her little legs. Then a footman comes in and goes, ‘You look like you need a drink, mate.’”
Until the Queen sat up and spoke, Mr Fagan had not realised it was her bedroom as he did not think it grand enough to belong to a monarch
The footman, Paul Whybrew, took Mr Fagan down the corridor. “He pours me a whisky out of the pantry.
Then the policemen came and they were all over the place – they hadn’t arrested anyone for years, they were on a retirement posting, on guard duty. One of them was fumbling around for his notebook.”
Until the Queen sat up and spoke, Mr Fagan had not realised it was her bedroom as he did not think it grand enough to belong to a monarch.
“She never had a four-poster bed. And she’s got a little thing where she does her teas and coffees.”
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The Netflix drama suggests that Mr Fagan launched a diatribe about Baroness Thatcher, telling the Queen that the Prime Minister had ruined the country.
In reality, he said, that was not the case and Morgan had “used a lot of artistic licence”; he still has no explanation for why he broke in, although he was frustrated by joblessness and the break-up of his marriage.
But he conceded that he did share the anti-Thatcher sentiment. “A lot of people thought like that. She did a lot of damage to children. She was like Trump,” he said.
Mr Fagan was arrested but not charged with trespass, as it was then a civil offence.
He was, then, sent to a psychiatric hospital for three months before returning home.