In a case of mistaken identity,armed police pointed guns at Prince Andrew,Queen Elizabeth II’s son,and ordered him to put his hands up in the gardens of Buckingham Palace,a media report said on Sunday.
For a tense half a minute the Queen’s 53-year-old son was in danger of being shot dead by officers paid to protect him and his family,the Daily Express reported.
On Saturday night,an internal inquiry was being carried out into the extraordinary incident,which took place last Wednesday,two days after a trespassing and burglary incident took place at Buckingham Palace.
Royal protection officers were said be ‘jittery’ after a genuine intruder had been found in the Palace’s state rooms two days earlier.
“He just went out into the gardens for a walk,to relax and enjoy the sunshine. It was only in the early evening and so was light. When he got to a far corner away from the Palace,he was suddenly pounced upon by an officer,and another was not far behind,” a palace insider was quoted as saying by the paper.
“They shouted all the usual,put your hands up and get on the ground,and both pointed their guns straight at him. He might have served in the Falklands war but I don’t care who you are,it must have been terrifying,” the insider said.
“Eventually,after he insisted he was Prince Andrew,the penny finally dropped,and they put their guns away. From what we’ve all heard the Duke was absolutely livid and tore them off a strip,” the source said.
“On Wednesday,September 4 at approximately 1800 hrs,two uniformed officers approached a man in the gardens of Buckingham Palace to verify his identity. The man was satisfactorily identified. No weapons were drawn and no force was used,” a Metropolitan Police spokesman said.
Two days before this incident,police said a man was arrested inside the palace on suspicion of burglary,trespass and criminal damage. A second man was arrested outside on suspicion of conspiracy to commit burglary. Both were bailed.
“No members of the Royal Family were at Buckingham Palace at the time of the incident,” a police spokesman said.
“Everyone is talking about these two incidents and can’t quite believe what has happened,” the royal insider said.
“The fact that this guy was able to wander off unchallenged and not be spotted by anyone is bad enough. But then to mistake the Duke (of York) for another intruder is
almost incomprehensible,” the source said.
“There is a high turnover of the police on duty at the Palace,but you’d think anyone would know what Prince Andrew looks like,” the insider said.
Andrew had been in London to visit PopUp Piccadilly,a scheme to support new retail businesses. He had only just returned from a two-week holiday in Spain,with his former wife Sarah,the Duchess of York,and their daughters Bea and Eugenie.
The break-in is one of the most serious security breaches at the palace since 1982,when 31-year-old Michael Fagan evaded guards to reach the Queen’s private chambers while she was still in bed.