The intruder and The Queen

The noise woke Her Majesty up. She saw a bleeding man sitting at the end of her bed, murmuring, ‘Can I have a cigarette?’
A true story based on the Scotland Yard’s report. Featured image credit: David Levenson, Getty.

Michael Fagan was seen on the railings near the gates to the ambassadors’ entrance of Buckingham Palace at about 6:45 A.M., on Friday, 9 July, 1982. He climbed over the railings, jumped down and hid behind a temporary canvas which had been put up next to the ambassadors’ entrance. There was a window left unlocked on the ground floor so Fagan easily got into the palace. All the doors of the room he entered were locked, so Fagan came out through the same window.

He then climbed a rainpipe to a flat roof above. He found another unlocked window through which he climbed into an office of the Master of the Household. Leaving the room, Fagan found himself on the corridors of the palace towards the private apartments. ‘I was following the portraits and paintings on the wall’, he told later. Fagan went first to an anteroom, where he broke into several pieces an ordinary glass ashtray. He cut his finger. It immediately started bleeding.

Michael Fagan entered Her Majesty The Queen’s bedroom at about 7:15 A.M. He went across the room and opened curtains close to Her Majesty’s bed. By this time, the at-night police sergeant had already gone off duty. The footman was outside exercising the dogs, and the maid was cleaning in another room. The noise woke Her Majesty up. She saw a bleeding man sitting at the end of her bed. ‘Can I have a cigarette?’, he murmured. The Queen pressed the alarm bell but since all the staff were doing their duties, the bell didn’t attract anyone’s attention.

While talking to Fagan, Her Majesty used her bedside telephone and told the palace telephonist to send police to her bedroom. Before police officers arrived, Her Majesty attracted the attention of the maid, and together they walked with Fagan into a nearby pantry on the pretext of supplying him with a cigarette. The footman also arrived. While Her Majesty kept the dogs away, the footman helped to keep the intruder in the pantry by supplying him with cigarettes until police officers arrived and removed him.

Back in 1982, what Fagan did was not a criminal offence, so he was not charged. The Serious Organized Crime and Police Act of 2005 made Buckingham Palace a designated site and since then trespassing its grounds has been a crime.

A Royal Christmas incl. HM the Queen’s Christmas Message

Just like for the majority of Christian families around the world, Christmas for the Royal Family is a time to spend together. Sandringham Estate and Sandringham House in Norfolk in the English countryside hosts the Members of the Windsor Family. It is not Royal property but has been private property of the Windsors since 1862, when the estate was purchased by Queen Victoria for her son Edward The Prince of Wales (who later became King Edward VII).

Royal Christmases, however, returned to the estate at the end of the 1980s after the maintenance work supervised by the Duke of Edinburgh had been finished. The place itself has sad memories for the Queen though, since her father King George VI died in Sandringham on 6 February 1952. Therefore Her Majesty never leaves Sandringham Estate after the Christmas season, but stays there until the anniversary.

It is part of the Windor’s Sandringham Christmas to attend the church service at St Mary Magdalene Church. Instead of being driven there by car or carried in a coach, the Royals walk to the service and talk to members of the public (except for the Queen).

Her Majesty broke a long-lasting tradition in 2017 when Meghan Markle (now Duchess of Sussex) was allowed to join the Royal Christmas. Meghan and Harry were already engaged by then, but according to traditions, the Queen had only invited married couples to Sandringham. Kate Middleton (now Duchess of Cambridge) for instance was not alowed to join before becoming wife of Prince William, however, Kate’s family lives in England while Meghan’s parents live in the United States.

In 2019, The Sussexes (Prince Henry, Meghan and their son, Archie) are staying away from Sandringham since they are relaxing in Canada for a longer period, over Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Traditional Royal Christmases include many games played together, staying up late at night (no one can leave the company and go to bed before Her Majesty) and watching “Granny’s Christmas Message” together on TV on Christmas Day.

The Queen does not forget about her people in the U.K. and the Commonwealth so that she sends her Christmas Message to them by a recorded television broadcast on-air on 25 December at exactly 3 p.m. (and since the 2010s it is uploaded to the Monarchy’s official online profiles and channels, too). In that message, the Queen shares her views about Christmas (the themes drawn by Dickens in ‘A Christmas Carol’) and deals with current world matters. Her Majesty personally gives her presents to her staff at Buckingham Palace; each member gets a voucher depending on which they choose – one for gifts or one for books.

Watch something truly British – Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Christmas Speech.

Turn the Subtitles on but be careful – they’re not always correct.

H.M. The Queen; extra

Interesting facts about Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II:

  • The Queen can speak French fluently.
  • She can drive well but she doesn’t need a driving licence, a passport or an ID card.
  • She is 5ft 4in tall (162 cm).
  • She loves dogs: she had corgis, now she has dorgis (her own breed) and hound dogs.
  • When she is at home in any of the Royal castles, the Royal Standard flag flies.
  • She has about 25 horses in each racing season.
  • There are about 150 painted portraits of her.
  • The Queen is on YouTube and on Facebook (The British Monarchy)
  • Her Majesty sends a telegraph (a special greeting card) to people of the Commonwealth who have their 100th birthday.
  • The Queen gives Christmas presents to Buckingham Palace staff every year. Some get some personal gifts but all get Christmas pudding.

HOME in London, Buckingham Palace:

The Queen and Scottish Veterans (Photo: Press Association)
The Queen and Scottish Veterans (Photo: Press Association)

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II


The Queen, Korean president Park Geun-Hye and the Duke of Edinburgh (Photo: The British Monarchy, Facebook)

She has important roles. The Queen is:

  • Head of State, so she visits other kings and queens, presidents, prime ministers or other important people. She also invites world leaders to London. These are official meetings.
  • Head of the Armed Forces;
  • Head of the English (Anglican) Church. The spiritual leader is the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Queen isn’t always busy. Can you find out what she does in her spare time? Unscramble the words.


Were you right?

Her Majesty loves taking photos, watching TV (especially BBC-sitcoms and soap operas) and walking her dogs. Watch how the Queen, her dogs and James Bond entered the Olympic Stadium at the opening ceremony of London Summer Olympic Games 2012.

beaverslothjaguarHer Majesty loves animals, especially dogs. She owns corgis and dorgis (a daschund-corgi crossbreed). The Queen often gets presents from famous people and she also gets animals. However, they don’t stay at Buckingham Palace, they all go to the London Zoo. Her Majesty has already had an elephant, some black beavers, some sloths and even a jaguar.

If you are very lucky, you can meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace. If you aren’t, you can still see her every day: the Queen’s head is on banknotes, coins and Elizabeth II has two birthdays. One for the family (the private one; on April 21) and another one for the public. It is in June when the Queen can see all her soldiers in uniform. There are 41 gun salutes for Her Majesty – 20 basic, and an extra 21 since Green Park is a Royal Park. These gunshots (= salutes) appear at Royal Parks / Palaces / Fortresses.

Here you can watch Trooping the Colour 2018:


The Queen and Prince Philip live in castles all around Britain.They usually stay in Balmoral Castle in Scotland in August and September.They stay at Buckingham Palace (in London) or Windsor Castle (near London) most of the time. Sandhrigham House is their winter home, the Windsors spend Christmas time there. Her Majesty and HRH Prince Philip stay for two more months.
The Queen’s official Edinburgh residence is Holyrood House (Palace of Holyroodhouse) while on a visit to Northern Ireland, she stays at Hillsborough Castle.


There are 775 rooms in the palace.The biggest room is the ballroom.There are 1,514 doors and 760 windows in the palace. They clean all the windows every six weeks.Today there are over 40,000 light bulbs there.There are some men whose job is to change the bulbs.There is a lake, a helicopter landing and a tennis court in the Palace Gardens.There are 30 different species of birds and more than 350 different wild flowers.

Inside the palace, there is a chapel, a post office, a swimming pool, a cafeteria for the staff, a doctor’s surgery and even a cinema.

Queen Elizabeth II and her family

Look at the family tree of The House of Windsor.

Can you tell what family relations there are?

  • mother, father (parents)
  • grandmother, grandfather (grandparents)
  • wife, husband
  • great-grandmother, great-grandfather (great-grandparents)
  • daughter, son (children)
  • granddaughter, grandson (grandchildren)
  • sister, brother (siblings)
  • aunt, uncle
  • cousin
  • in-laws (mother-, father-, son-, daughter-, brother-, sister-)

E.g.: The Queen is Prince Charles’s mother.

William is Diana and Charles’s son.


Carisbrooke Castle

The Isle of Wight is a remote paradise and a great place for showing the beauty of Britain in a relatively compact place (as you can visit the Isle in one day). Home of cathedrals, gorges (Shanklin), coastline beauty (The Needles), botanical gardens (Ventnor) and a steam railway, the Isle’s popular attraction is the castle of the donkeys, Carisbrooke.

It is located in the village of Carisbrooke on a hill, near Newport on the Isle of Wight. There are a number of buildings, some of them in ruins. The outer gate dates back to 1598. The rooms used as home of Princess Beatrice when she was the Governor of the Isle of Wight are in good repair. A must to see: the Keep, The Great Hall, The Great Chamber. Most rooms are partly furnished and feature original fireplaces.

The site was an Anglo-Saxon fort as early as the 8th century. A wall was built around the structure around 1000 to defend it against Viking raids. After the Norman invasion, William Fitz Osbern built a motte-and-bailey castle. In 1100 Carisbrooke was granted to Richard de Redvers. The Keep was added to the castle in the 13th century.
King Charles I was imprisoned at Carisbrooke Castle for fourteen months before his execution in 1649. Princess Beatrice, daughter of Queen Victoria, lived in the castle between 1896-1944 as the governor of the Isle of Wight.

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Windsor Castle

The building of the favourite weekend-home of Her Majesty the Queen – the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world – began soon after the Norman conquest. William the Conqueror was really thoughtful and ordered to build the motte on a 30-metre-high cliff on which the keep was erected. The early layout of William’s and Henry II’s castle (from the 1170s) can still be seen today in Windsor. The complexity of the castle contains the famous St George’s Chapel (hosting tombs of ten monarchs) or the great entry gate named after its builder King Henry VIII who is the most notable Tudor monarch and was buried at Windsor’s St George Chapel. Not only mournful, but cheerful royal events take place at St George’s – it hosted numerous royal weddings, the latest to occur was the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on 19th May, 2018.  
More than a hundred rooms were damaged in the great fire of Windsor in 1992. To pay back the cost of £36,000,000 to the State, the Royal Family decided to open the gates of Buckingham Palace to the public.

A Visit at Windsor


  • Dedicated to England’s patron saint George, the highest order of chivalry founded by Edward III in 1348; the Order of the Garter – “Mal qui pense mal” since the legend says the knights saw a piece of lady’s garter in the bailey – the Queen, Prince Philip, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex are members
  • Henry VIII enjoyed Windsor as a royal playground for shooting, dancing, wrestling, tennis, and even songwriting. He is purported to have spent the equivalent of £295 million in 2008 terms ($420 million) on work that included hiring Italian architect Benedetto Grazzini to convert the Lady Chapel into an Italian Renaissance design.
  • Windsor Castle was one of Elizabeth I’s favourite residences and she spent more money on it than any of her other residences.
  • Charles II liked to imitate Louis XIV of France, creating “the most extravagantly Baroque interiors ever executed in England”.
  • In 1939 Windsor Castle was readied for war-time: security tightened, windows blacked-out, staff were relocated to Windsor from Buckingham Palace. The roof above the children’s room, where Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret were staying was strengthened, chandeliers were lowered to floor level to prevent damage in a bombing raid, and important works of art were removed for safe keeping. Driving daily to London and returning to Windsor each night was a closely-guarded secret for the king and queen. It was considered good for morale to report that the king was staying full-time at Buckingham Palace.
  • From the 1350s to the 1370s, Edward III transformed Windsor from a military fortification to a gothic palace.
  • Edward’s core design lasted through the Tudor period, during which Henry VIII and Elizabeth I made increasing use of the castle as a royal court and centre for diplomatic entertainment.
  • During English Civil War (1642–1651) castle was used as a prison for Charles I and a military headquarters for Parliamentary forces.
  • At the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Charles II rebuilt much of Windsor Castle with the help of the architect Hugh May, creating a set of extravagant Baroque interiors that are still admired.
  • During WW2, the castle was used as home to entire royal family during German bombing campaigns.
  • The Great Fire at Windsor started on 20 November 1992. The fire damaged or destroyed 20% of the Castle area. The castle was fully repaired within the next few years at a cost of over £36 000 000.
  • The Castle grounds cover 52,609 square meters (13 acres). After centuries of alterations it contains about 1,000 room and the staff is over 500.
  • The castle has 300 fireplaces which are tended by a full-time fendersmith, whose family have been doing the job for generations.
  • The Windsor Castle estate (including Windsor Great Park) has over 450 clocks. When British Summer Time (BST) begins, it takes The Queen’s clock maker 16 hours to move every clock forward by one hour. At the end of BST it takes him 18 hours to adjust them back one hour (as he actually has to move them forward 11 hours!)
  • Windsor Castle has over a million visitors each year.

Official Windsor Castle Website

Fire at Windsor Castle in 1992

Inside Windsor Castle


H&M – A Royal Wedding’s memorabilia

The traditional approval of the British monarch (Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II) has been given to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for their wedding on 19th May, 2018. From this day on, they are His Royal Highness Harry Duke of Sussex and Her Royal Highness Meghan Duchess of Sussex.

H&M’s wedding is a less celebrated happening than Prince William and Kate Middleton’s was in 2011, however, both attracts hundreds of thousands of people waiting outside Windsor Castle to cheer he newlyweds passing by in their horse-drawn carriage.

Harry and Meghan have invited about 600 people to the St George’s Chapel of Windsor Castle (no current politicians or Heads-of-State, though), and only about 200 will be appearing at the wedding party. Celebrities, however, do appear in their stylish and great attires including the David and Victoria Beckham, George Clooney, Sir Elton John or Oprah Winfrey.

Memorabilia and souvenirs have been available to buy for a couple of weeks all across the UK. From one of the most expensive one (Limited Edition Royal Wedding Official Commemorative Cup and Saucer pair, cost £ 195) to cheap stuff here’s a surely not complete A–Z list of items collectors can buy to decorate their homes.

All the souvenirs must contain approved photos of Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle as well as the full Coat of Arms of His Royal Highness Prince Harry of Wales.

There is a compulsory phrase to be printed / carved / inscribed on the sold item (also applies to regional language variations):  To Commemorate the Marriage of HRH Prince Henry of Wales and Miss Meghan Markle, 19th May 2018. (*official rules to be found HERE)


  • Apron
  • Baby Grow
  • Basketball Hoop
  • Beer
  • Book mark
  • Bottled Champagne (in various units)
  • Bowl
  • Button
  • Candies
  • Candle
  • Candle
  • Chocolate Slims
  • Coin (worth: 5 GBP)
  • Colouring Book
  • Condoms
  • Cookie Tin
  • Cream Fudge (various flavours)
  • Crystal Champagne Glasses
  • Crystal Glass
  • Cupcake Toppers
  • Cushion
  • Cut-Out Book (Let’s Dress Harry and Meghan)
  • Dog Accessories
  • Earrings
  • Face Masks
  • Film Collection (Best of Meghan Markle’s)
  • Flag
  • Gingerbread Biscuits
  • Heart Decoration (in various colours)
  • Horseshoe
  • Iced Cake
  • Jumper
  • Keyring
  • Life-Size Cardboard Cuts
  • Love Story Book
  • Mug (in various sizes)
  • Paper Dolls
  • Perfume
  • Phone Case
  • Pillbox
  • Placemat
  • Plate
  • Playing Cards
  • Porcelain Dolls
  • Round Hinge Box
  • Sandwich Tray
  • Sausages (Gluten and dairy free)
  • Scarf
  • Shopping Bag
  • Shortbread Biscuits
  • Sky Map
  • Socks
  • Sugared Almonds
  • Tankard
  • Tea
  • Tea Towel
  • Thimbles
  • Tote Bag
  • Truffles
  • Wedding Air in a Bottle (prank item published for 1st of April)
  • Wedding Bells
  • Wedding Rings Cereal
  • Wine

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The Frugal Windsors

Her Majesty at Balmoral Castle (photo: The Telegraph)

According to Rich List 2018 by The Sunday Times, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has saved more than 65 billion GBP and reached a total of £724 billion. No matter how much seh has saved for the rainy days, she is only the 344th richest person in the world.

What ways are the Windors frugal*?
*frugal: spending very little money and only on things that are really necessary (MacMillan Dictionary)

  • the drawing room in Buckingham Palace is sometimes heated with a cheap electric heater (costs 30 GBP, placed in the fireplace);
  • Light bulbs using more than 40W are banned and must be turned off;
  • The Queen posted signs around the 775-roomed Palace to remind the staff switching the lights off – if forgotten, according to an employee, she does it herself;
  • Old newspapers are shredded for use as horses’ bedding;
  • String from parcels is saved to be tied again;
  • At Balmoral Estate in Scotland, where the Queen spends the hottest summer days, any damage to the walls is patched up by wallpaper bought more than a century ago by Queen Victoria – with Her Majesty reasoning that it would be wasteful to splash out on new dcoration when there are perfectly good rolls of wallpaper left over by her great-great-grandmother;
  • At breakfast she insists that her cornflakes and porridge oats are kept in airtight Tupperware containers in order to prolong their life;
  • She has been using handbags for 30 or 40 years and she continues to use the former ones;
  • The Queen is also perfectly happy to recycle her own wardrobe;
  • The Windsors don’t have private jets, they often travel on commercial airlines in economy class;
  • In the country when travelling, the Queen often takes the train;
  • Prince George wore an outfit 30 years after his father William wore it in 1984;
  • Prince William and Kate Middleton buy IKEA furniture into their children’s rooms;
  • The Windsors usually eat leftovers, too;
  • They eat simple homemade food and fish instead of luxuries e.g. caviar;
  • Tradition of the family exchanging only the most basic of gifts: the Queen was reportedly thrilled one year to receive an electric kettle and a see-through umbrella and another year to have given Princess Anne an ironing board as a Christmas present.
  • In 1999 the Queen secured a huge discount on staff Christmas puddings by switching her order from Harrods’s to Tesco – and then donated the clubcard loyalty points to homeless shelter Crisis.

“Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves” – as Prince Philip once said: “Look after the millions and the billions look after themselves.”