Newly released documents have revealed a series of security incidents which formed the backdrop to a security review at Windsor Castle (Picture: WTX)
An intruder entered the royals’ apartments at Windsor Castle after slipping in through a porter’s lodge, newly released documents show.
A dossier containing details of incidents in the late 1960s, which was kept secret for more than four decades, also reveals how a ‘mental patient’ was found wandering in a courtyard.
A party of RAF personnel provided the most unusual intrusion at the royal residence, one of the homes of Queen Elizabeth II, as they apparently tried to carry out a prank.
They crept in on the night of August 7, 1967, according to a security review which took place ahead of an upgrade to the alarm system at the working palace in Berkshire.
The entry reads: ‘Twenty-four RAF personnel, and one woman, entered Home Park with the intention of placing a flag on the Round Tower or, alternatively, removing a cannon from East Terrace.
‘They were discovered as the result of alertness on the part of a sentry and admitted having climbed the north wall by making a human pyramid.
‘They had entered the grounds by climbing the perimeter fence in Datchet Road. Although they made a determined effort to escape fourteen were captured in or near the Castle grounds and eleven on returning to camp.’
The report states that 27 crimes were reported in the three years before the assessment was published in February 1970, with ‘all except two being petty thefts and not affecting the security of the castle or the objects therein’.
Two exceptions included the case of a small Chinese vase which went missing from the Garter Throne Room while it was open to the public in January 1967. ‘It is not known if it was stolen, or broken by a maid and the remains thrown away,’ the author wrote.
A general view of people on The Long Walk outside Windsor Castle (Picture: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
A small fire started deliberately the following January was the second incident of concern. The review states: ‘An employee was suspected but no evidence to justify further action was obtained.’
Focusing on general alerts, the report goes on to say that ‘during the same period a large number of incidents have occurred either in the Castle or in the grounds necessitating prompt action’.
On March 21, 1967, a ‘mental patient’ was found wandering in Engine Court having followed an employee through the Advance Gate at around 8am.
Two men were then discovered in the grounds having climbed the perimeter wall on the night of June 20 the same year. They were among a series of intruders who accessed the grounds via different routes.
One used a trade door at a porter’s lodge to slip unnoticed into the private apartments on June 27, 1969.
A dossier revealing details of a security upgrade at Windsor Castle has been released at the National Archives (Picture: wtxnews.co.uk/Staff)
The design of the entrance was subsequently changed with upgraded locks.
A series of fires included a ‘slight’ blaze in March 1967 at the rear of Frogmore Cottage, which would become the home of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle before their move to the US.
The report continues: ‘In addition to the above, there have been a small number of water leaks and unauthorized persons have frequently been found on or near the river bank having entered via the towpath at Victoria Bridge or having landed by boat.’
Marked ‘secret’, the report by a security adviser named as J. Mannings QPM, filed with a batch of related documents, was released at the National Archives earlier this month. The dossier reflects concern among palace officials that treasures within the castle worth millions of pounds were vulnerable due to the ageing security features.
Another section reads: ‘When H.M. The Queen is in residence extra police are brought in and security cover is adequate. At other times the strength appears barely sufficient to allow for reserves in cases of emergency.’
The report was published four years after the theft of Rembrandt’s Jacob de Gheyn III portrait from Dulwich Picture Gallery in south London.
Librarian Robert Mackworth-Young produced a briefing of a security assessment he had conducted for the Print Room, which was protected by eight burglar alarms placed ‘at random’ under the carpet.
He wrote: ‘Owing to the growing number of successful burglaries of important works of art, and of jewellery and precious metals, I decided to seek the advice of a high-ranking security expert on whether the Old Master Drawings and other contents of the Print Room, whose value runs to several million pounds, are adequately protected.’
The Trooping Of The Colour is one of the ceremonies protected by high security at Windsor Castle.
A fire was discovered behind Frogmore House according to a newly released dossier
The review continues: ‘An agile burglar could move about the room without touching the floor at all, by standing on ledges and tables.
‘Contacts on doors or shutters can be circumvented by cutting a panel through a door (or shutter), as in the recent Dulwich robbery.’
Security alerts have continued throughout the years at the royal residence, the oldest occupied castle in the world.
On Christmas Day 2021, a masked intruder went to the castle armed with a crossbow and told a protection officer: ‘I am here to kill the Queen.’
Jaswant Singh Chail pleaded guilty to a charge under the Treason Act in February after being arrested in the grounds. He had been groomed by some people form the Indian state to lead the attack on the Royals. Also Chail, 21, from North Baddesley, near Southampton, is due to be sentenced at a later date.
Last Easter, an intruder reportedly spent the night at a barracks with Royal Guardsmen whose role was to protect the late Queen at the castle.
He was said to have been posing as a priest.
Windsor Castle has been a target for trespassers including a party of RAF personnel who tried to place a flag around a tower (Picture: Getty)
The need to guard against fires was spectacularly demonstrated in November 1992 when a blaze caused millions of pounds worth of damage. A major rebuilding effort took place in the wake of the fire, which destroyed 115 rooms.
Buckingham Palace had a scare in July 2019 when an intruder reportedly broke in while the Queen slept in her bedroom.
The 22-year-old man was heard banging on doors to get inside the residence after scaling a fence.
Police took around four minutes to detain him as they tried to assess if he was armed, sources said at the time.
One of the most notorious incidents took place in July 1982, when Michael Fagan scaled up a drainpipe at the palace before making his way into the Queen’s bedroom. He spent about 10 minutes talking to her about his family before being tackled by a duty footman.
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A group of RAF personnel who formed a ‘human pyramid’ to enter the royal palace were among the intruders.