Duke of York - ‘Police wrong to stop me in Palace’

THE DUKE of York has said police were “wrong” to challenge him in the gardens of Buckingham Palace less than 48 hours after a break-in at the Queen’s home.

Prince Andrew was challenged in the grounds of Buckingham Palace on Wednesday. Picture: AFP

Police shouted at the 53-year-old prince to “put your hands up and get on the ground”, a report said yeterday, citing an unnamed royal source.

Prince Andrew, the Queen’s second son, said in a statement yesterday: “The police have a difficult job to do balancing security for the Royal Family and deterring intruders, and sometimes they get it wrong. I am grateful for their apology and look forward to a safe walk in the garden in the future.”

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The confrontation came after an intruder was able to scale a fence and get inside the palace on Monday night, before being arrested by police.

A police spokesman said: “On Wednesday, 4 September at approximately 1800hrs, 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 security review has been launched following Monday night’s suspected burglary. Police said a man was found shortly before 10:30pm “in an area currently open to the public during the day” and arrested for burglary, trespass and criminal damage.

A second man was arrested outside the palace for conspiracy to commit burglary. Both have been released on bail while inquiries continue.

“No members of the Royal Family were at Buckingham Palace at the time of the incident,” police added.

The Queen made her traditional appearance at a Highland Games yesterday as details of the break-in emerged. She was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales at the Braemar Gathering in Aberdeenshire, where the royal party watched pipe bands and dancers perform to a large crowd.

The Queen has been at Balmoral Castle since the beginning of August and is not expected to return to the palace until next month.

The break-in is one of the most serious security breaches at the palace since 1982, when Michael Fagan evaded guards to get inside the Queen’s private chambers while she was still in bed. Fagan, 31, spent about ten minutes talking to the Queen, who managed to raise the alarm when he asked for a cigarette, allowing her to call for a footman.

Police yesterday released a further statement that said: “We are grateful to the duke for his understanding and have apologised for any inconvenience caused.”

Former London police chief Lord Blair said it was impossible to make any site completely secure. “They will have to look at this,” headded. “The story of the burglar is much more difficult than the Andrew story.”