The Crown examines Michael Fagan’s Buckingham break-in, leaving viewers to wonder about the legal consequences of his actions. Here are the specifics.
The Crown examines Michael Fagan’s 1982 Buckingham Palace break-in, leaving viewers to wonder about the legal consequences of intruding upon the Queen. During the end credits of the season 4 episode “Fagan,” it’s revealed that the subject was a free man just months after committing a high-profile trespass. As it turns out, the charges again Fagan were relatively minor.
The fifth episode of The Crown season 4 focuses heavily on the July 1982 break-in at Buckingham Palace. In real life, Fagan had visited the Queen’s home several times during the previous months, telling his family that he was going to see his girlfriend named “Elizabeth Regina.” By June 1982, Fagan managed to enter Buckingham Palace without being spotted, and later suffered a mental breakdown shortly after upon separating from his wife. On July 9, 1982, Fagan returned to the Royal residence and entered the bedroom of Queen Elizabeth II. Netflix heavily fictionalizes the specifics of their alleged conversation but stays true to the logistics of the intrusion.
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Initial reports stated that Fagan had entered the Queen’s bedroom with a piece of jagged glass, and was apparently bleeding from a cut. The intruder’s lawyer also stated that his client “spent just over 10 minutes” with the Queen. In The Crown, Netflix relies on reports from 1982, as Fagan does indeed cut himself at Buckingham Palace and eventually stays within Buckingham for approximately 10 minutes of screen time. In 2020, however, Fagan revealed (via The Telegraph) that he barely spoke with Queen Elizabeth II before getting apprehended. The Crown season 4 episode “Fagan” ends with the revelation that the subject was “committed indefinitely” to Park Lane Mental Hospital in Liverpool but was released after three months.
After Fagan breached Buckingham Palace in 1982, authorities couldn’t legally charge him with a criminal offense for the break-in. Instead, Fagan was technically guilty of a “civil wrong,” described as “An infringement of a person’s rights, such as a tort or breach of contract.” Ultimately, the Queen’s intruder was accused of stealing a bottle of wine — an act that’s shown in the Netflix series — but the charges were later dropped. By January 1983, Fagan was released from Park Lane Mental Hospital. In a 2012 interview (as reported by Elle), the then-32-year-old claimed that mushrooms and Pink Floyd were partially responsible for his downward life spiral, stating “Two years later I was still coming down. I was high on mushrooms for a long, long time.”
Fagan recently stated that The Crown creator Peter Morgan didn’t reach about the Buckingham break-in episode. He has also expressed displeasure about Netflix choosing Brooke to portray him, stating “They could have surely found someone who looks a bit like me. I’m actually better looking and he seems totally charmless.” After the 1982 Buckingham scandal, Fagan had more run-ins with the law throughout the decade, and later served time in prison for dealing heroin during the ’90s. In the present, he reportedly lives in London.
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