A man armed with a crossbow burst into Windsor Castle, where Queen Elizabeth II spends Christmas, has been arrested and detained for mental health treatment, police said on Sunday.
“Security processes were activated a few moments after the man entered the premises and did not enter any buildings,” a statement from London Metropolitan Police said.
“After the man was searched, a crossbow was recovered,” he added.
The incident happened when the queen spent a discreet Christmas day at Windsor Castle, west London, with her eldest son and heir to the throne, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla.
Local police said Saturday they had found a 19-year-old man at 08.30 GMT on Christmas Day.
The teen was arrested on suspicion of breach or intrusion into a protected place and possession of an offensive weapon.
“The man was arrested and has undergone a mental health assessment; since then he has been dissected under the Mental Health Act and is still being cared for by medical professionals,” metropolitan police said.
The Mental Health Act allows the authorities in England and Wales to detain and treat people with mental health problems without their consent.
Subjects to the legislation are considered a risk to themselves or others.
The Sunday Mirror reported that CCTV operators saw a man carrying what looked like a crossbow, while the Mail on Sunday said the man used a rope ladder to climb a fence.
“We can confirm that the security processes were activated a few minutes after the man entered the premises and did not enter any buildings,” police said on Saturday.
“Members of the royal family have been informed of the incident.”
Although it appears that the intruder was soon intercepted, it recalls a previous and more serious intrusion in 1982.
On that occasion, a man in his 30s entered Queen Elizabeth’s private rooms at Buckingham Palace while she was in bed before police arrested her.
In July, a man was arrested after climbing the gates of the Palace.
And in 2020, a homeless man climbed the walls and went to sleep on the ground before being caught.
A quieter Christmas
The Queen usually celebrated Christmas on her estate in Sandringham, in the east of England, but this year she stayed at Windsor Castle after the trip was canceled as a precautionary measure.
Princess Anne’s 95-year-old daughter was isolating herself after her husband tested positive for coronavirus, with Britain this week recording a record number of cases fueled by the Omicron variant.
The British tabloid The Sun had reported that 16 members of the family would join the Queen for Christmas, while her grandson Prince William would stay with his family in the south-east of England.
Elizabeth was also celebrating her first Christmas without her 73-year-old husband, Prince Philip, who died at the age of 99 in April and was the longest-serving consort in the United Kingdom.
The monarch paid tribute to Philip in his traditional Christmas message to the nation issued on Saturday, referring to “a family laugh that is missing this year.”
The Queen, who was already Britain’s longest-serving monarch, will celebrate her platinum jubilee next year to commemorate the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne in 1952.