Couple Arrested for 'Royal Romp' on the Lawn at Windsor Castle

By Mary Jordan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, May 2, 2009

LONDON, May 1 -- It is being called the "royal romp."

A couple were arrested Sunday for stripping off their clothes and having sex on the lawn of Windsor Castle, one of the country's most popular tourist attractions, said Anamika Madar, a spokeswoman for the Thames Valley Police.

The arrest became top news in Britain on Friday when details of it were leaked to the press. Madar said "more than one person" had called to alert police to the naked spectacle, which took place in full view of busy hotels and shops and sightseers who gathered to videotape this particular sight.

The couple were jailed overnight for "outraging public decency," Madar said.

Queen Elizabeth II was inside the castle at the time, but a palace spokesman had no comment about whether Her Majesty was aware of the activity on her lawn.

The Royal Protection Squad, which guards royal residences, was summoned by appalled onlookers when the couple blatantly ignored the "Keep Off the Grass" sign.

The Sun newspaper ran a front-page picture of the pair -- fully clothed -- and said the woman was an American Internet expert and her partner was a British manager of a recruiting firm. The police did not identify them.

British news accounts suggested the couple had been drinking a lot of champagne and appeared not to realize how many people were watching, or exactly where they were.

"There were camera flashes going off and people videoing," one onlooker, Mark Robinson, told the Sun. "The officers told them to stop, and the sight of the uniforms seemed to snap them out of it."

Other newspapers said the couple were "respectable people with respectable jobs" and that after spending a night in jail, they were "mortified" at what had happened.

England is enjoying unusually fine spring weather -- a fact many commentators speculated may have inspired the "castle rompers."

"Oh, yes, people are talking about this," said Billy Singh, who works at Dillons, a newspaper shop in Windsor, 30 miles west of London. He said it was "all the gossip" among his friends who work inside the castle. "It's the queen's place. People are expected to act with dignity."

"We are not saying anything about this actual event," said a spokesman for the queen.

Asked whether there had been any similar incidents in the castle's 900-year history, the spokesman -- who, by tradition, declined to be identified by name -- replied: "We would have to comb through the records."

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