The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

British police investigate Christmas intruder at Windsor Castle; video emerges of man with crossbow

Police guard Windsor Castle on Dec. 25. (Alastair Grant/AP)
Placeholder while article actions load

LONDON — British police on Monday said they were assessing a video posted on social media of a masked man clutching a crossbow saying he wanted to “assassinate the queen.”

British tabloids have linked the video to the armed intruder arrested on Christmas Day on the grounds of Windsor Castle, where Queen Elizabeth II was celebrating Christmas.

A spokesman for the London Metropolitan Police said Monday that “following the man’s arrest, detectives are assessing the video.”

On the weekend, police arrested a 19-year-old man from Southampton carrying a crossbow on “suspicion of breach or trespass of a protected site and possession of an offensive weapon.” He was arrested “within moments” of breaking into the castle grounds, police said, and he did not enter any buildings on the estate.

The queen was home at the time.

[For Queen Elizabeth II, 2021 brought sorrow and scandal to the royal family]

The man has since been detained under the Mental Health Act and remains in the care of medical professionals, police said in a statement on Sunday.

In a video clip, obtained by the Sun newspaper, a masked man dressed in black says: “I’m sorry for what I’ve done and what I will do. I will attempt to assassinate Elizabeth, queen of the royal family.” He said it was a “revenge” mission. The man is holding a crossbow, and his voice is distorted.

The newspaper said the video was posted on a Snapchat account on Christmas morning, less than half an hour before police officers arrested a man who was carrying a crossbow.

Police said the investigation would be transferred from the local force that covers Windsor to the London Metropolitan Police specialist operations as “inquiries into the full circumstances of this incident are being progressed.”

Several British tabloids, citing unnamed sources, reported over the weekend that the intruder used a rope ladder to scale a fence. “Queen’s Xmas Crossbow Horror,” read a front-page headline in the Sunday Mirror.

A spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace declined to comment, saying it was a matter for the police.

Britain gets a glimpse of Queen Elizabeth II in Christmas message

The incident was only the latest security breach at Windsor this year. In May, a couple was arrested after entering the grounds of the Windsor estate. The Times of London reported that they were found near the spot where the queen walks her dogs.

One of the best known royal security breaches over the years occurred in 1982, when 31-year-old Michael Fagan broke into Buckingham Palace. He reached the queen’s bedroom and spent several minutes chatting with the monarch. The incident was later depicted in an episode of “The Crown.”

The queen had been planning to host a Christmas gathering this year at her Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England. But those plans were scrapped, for the second year in a row, after a surge in coronavirus infections. The country’s confirmed daily cases hit a record high on Saturday.

Instead, the queen spent Christmas Day at Windsor Castle, her main residence since the start of the pandemic. She was joined by a small group of family members, including her eldest son, Prince Charles, and his wife, Camilla.

It was the queen’s first Christmas since the death of her husband, Prince Philip, in April at age 99. The queen paid tribute to him in her annual Christmas Day speech, which was broadcast Saturday but recorded last week.

Referring to Philip, the queen said there was “one familiar laugh missing this year.”

Read more:

Europe faces its second covid Christmas with lockdowns, cancellations and rising cases

Real-world data from U.K. suggests omicron is less likely than delta to send people to the hospital

Loading...