- The Crown -Michael Fagan Doesn’t Regret Breaking Into Buckingham Palace
The Crown Season 4 is full of strong episodes, but the season's standout is "Fagan," an hour devoted almost entirely to Michael Fagan, the man who famously broke into Buckingham Palace and made his way undetected into Queen Elizabeth II's bedchamber in July 6, 1982. As played by the English actor Tom Brooke, the Buckingham intruder is a living indictment of Margaret Thatcher's England. But in reality, Fagan doesn't think about his Buckingham Palace jaunt much these days, and at age 70, he's trying to stay out of trouble as much as possible in his golden years.
In July 2020, Fagan spoke with The Daily Mail on the anniversary of the day he broke into Buckingham Palace, and found that the two-time intruder was more focused on planning his 70th birthday celebration in August than he was on reminiscing about his time inside the Palace. Like so many people, the North London resident has had a tough year. He revealed to The Daily Mail that he not only survived COVID-19, he also had a heart attack in 2020, which led to a three-week stay in a London hospital.
"It was scary times — the pain of the heart attack was like nothing, I'm so lucky," he told the publication. In many ways, Fagan's current struggles continue to reflect the societal inequities in the modern world. However, in his interviews, he's never offered up social commentary while recounting his notorious encounter with the Queen. Instead, he's leaned into playing the moment off as the impulse of a cheeky, drunken man.
The Crown Uses Fagan As A Way To Bring Thatcher's England Into The Queen's Private Space
Peter Morgan, The Crown's showrunner, sticks to the truth in terms of Fagan's personal story. At the time, he was an out of work painter who had recently split with his wife. But he takes liberties with what occurred when the Queen came face to face with her intruder.
Over the years, Fagan's account of what happened during the 10 minutes he was alone with Queen Elizabeth has proven to be mercurial. Initial reports suggested that the two had a conversation as she tried to stall him until the police arrived, but in 2012, he told The Independent that the royal fled the room as soon as he pulled back the curtains on her bed. "Nah! She went past me and ran out of the room; her little bare feet running across the floor," he said.
In a November interview with The Telegraph, he added that she asked what he was doing there, before telling him, "I'll be back in a minute." He claims she then left the room and a footman showed up a few minutes later and offered him a glass of whisky as they waited for the police to turn up.
The 70-year-old told The Telegraph that Morgan didn't reach out to him about the Season 4 episode of The Crown, and that he definitely didn't use his time with the Queen to air any grievances about Thatcher. Although, he did admit he's never been a supporter of the former prime minister. "A lot of people thought like that. She did a lot of damage to children. She was like Trump," he said.
Fagan's real life has been full of brushes with the law
As wild as it may seem, Fagan wasn't charged for breaking into Buckingham Palace, because the invasion was classified as trespassing — which is not a crime in England. However, he did have to go to court for drinking Prince Charles' wine the first time he broke into the Palace. Within 14 minutes, a jury acquitted him of stealing. At the time, Fagan told the court that he entered the Queen's residence to prove there wasn't adequate security surrounding Great Britain's leader.
"Well, the security was so bad it was lax," he said, according to The New York Times. "I wanted to show as an example that I could get in. I got into the palace. I wanted to show the Queen isn't safe in that position."
His position changed in his later years. In 2012, he told The Telegraph, "I don't know why I did it, something just got into my head."
Since then, Fagan has had several more brushes with the law. Over the years, he has been charged with dealing heroin, indecent exposure, and assaulting a police officer. He spent four years in jail for the heroin incident, but his life has settled down since then. He now lives with his partner, Rhian, and has three great-grandchildren, as reported by The Telegraph.
After surviving jail, COVID-19, and his impromptu encounter with the Queen, he's prepared for the renewed notoriety that The Crown Season 4 will send his way. In fact, he's been getting practice in for years thanks to the children that live in his building. "I've met children downstairs who say, 'We were learning about you in our lessons,'" he said to the publication. "Kids get taught about me at school, I swear."
It may be a strange thing to be famous for, but Fagan doesn't regret breaking into Buckingham Palace, although he does strongly advise others not to follow his lead. "I was more adventurous in my youth — stay out of trouble!" he told Daily Mail readers in July. It seems at 70, Fagan has learned to appreciate his strange encounter with the Queen, but he's wise enough to know it should never be repeated.