By Stephen McPhilemy
Ireland has many great characters. If you take one of our tours, you might meet someone like Michael Fagan. You may remember in 1982 there was an intruder in Queen Elizabeth II's bedroom in Buckingham Palace. That was Michael Fagan.
At the time, Michael was living in the Irish enclave of Kilburn in north London. One Friday night, while he was watching television in his local Irish pub, it was announced that the Queen happened to be staying at Buckingham Palace over the weekend. Some of the Irish lads in the pub weren't exactly impressed.
The gallant Michael bet them five pounds each that he could get into the Queen's bedroom that night. There were seven people in the bar. Each one duly gave him five pounds. Michael used the money for a cab to get to the gates of the palace. On the way he told the taxi driver his plans. The driver laughed it off...until he saw the 10 o'clock news that night.
When Michael got to the palace, he scaled the 20-foot wall, which is an achievement in itself with a belly full of Guinness. He went straight for the palace, totally undetected — the biggest breach of security in the 800-year-old history of the English royal family. He pulled himself up a drainpipe and came to a balcony of a bedroom. According to the Royal Family's website, there are over 200 bedrooms in the palace. Michael Fagan managed to pick the right one! Luck of the Irish.
When he went in, the Queen was sleeping. The word on the street in Ireland is that the Queen and Prince Phillip don't sleep together (this wasn't on their website). According to Michael Fagan the Queen sleeps sitting up in a four-poster bed. She wears the eye patches so she couldn't see who he was.
He sat on her bed. She woke up and said, "Is that you, Philip?" He put on a posh English accent and said, "No it's me, Michael." She was terrified and thought he was going to kill her. He could see that she was very frightened. He said, "Relax, sister. You don't have to worry. I'm Irish." The Queen thought, "I'm definitely dead now." Michael very gently calmed her down. She said, "What do you want from me?" He said, "All I want is a kiss."
You can picture the scene. The head of the empire upright in her bed. And a drunk Irishman leaning toward her. She asked, "Do you know who I am? I am the Queen of England."And he said, "I don't care who you are. I'm Michael Fagan from Ireland and I'm here for a kiss." She kept saying no; he kept saying, "Give me a kiss." This went on for seven minutes.
Finally Michael lost his patience. He said, "For God's sake, woman, would you give me a kiss?" And the Queen said, "I shouldn't even be massaging your back."
Michael was sentenced to two years in jail. He served a few months and was let out early for good behavior. It's said the Queen actually sent him a couple of letters while he was in prison. He returned his home town of Derry in Northern Ireland. Needless to say, Michael Fagan never had to pay for a pint again.