London police mistakenly order Prince Andrew to identify himself in palace garden

September 8, 2013

You might forgive Britain’s royal protection unit for being a little jittery.

Two days after an intruder was discovered prowling around Buckingham Palace, police confronted Prince Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II, in the royal residence’s garden and demanded that he identify himself.

London’s Metropolitan Police said in an e-mail Sunday that the department had apologized to Andrew, also known as the Duke of York, and that the royal responded with a touch of humor.

“I am grateful for their apology and look forward to a safe walk in the garden in the future,” he said in a statement.

Wednesday’s embarrassing mix-up with the duke followed an even more embarrassing security breach Monday, when an intruder was arrested after having scaled the fence around the palace. He and an alleged accomplice were arrested on suspicion of burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary, respectively.

The confrontation between the duke and police was first reported by Britain’s Sunday Express tabloid, which used the eye-catching headline “PRINCE ANDREW HELD AT GUNPOINT.”

Although royal protection officers do sometimes carry weapons, the police force denied the paper’s assertion that guns were pointed at Andrew, insisting that no weapons were drawn.

In comments to BBC television, former royal protection officer Dai Davies said that, even if the story had been blown out of proportion by the media, the incident “does sound a little unusual.”

— Associated Press

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