A journalist posing as a workman entered a private area of Queen Elizabeth’s official Scottish residence in the latest breach of royal security, the newspaper behind the stunt said on Friday.
The Sunday Times newspaper told Reuters one of its reporters wearing a hard hat gained access to state rooms adjacent to the queen’s bedroom in the turreted Palace of Holyroodhouse in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, on Thursday.
He waited there for 20 minutes before he was finally challenged by security guards, the paper said.
The stunt has refocused attention on security at the heart of Britain’s seats of power following a series of high-profile breaches this month.
The paper said it decided to test the palace’s security before a visit by heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles this weekend and before the queen stays there following the official opening of the Scottish parliament building in Edinburgh on Oct. 9.
“We have agreed to cooperate with police who are investigating how this breach of security took place,” said a spokeswoman for the paper.
Lothian and Borders police said only that inquiries were being made to trace the intruder.
Police source refutes newspaper's story
But a police source said the reporter had entered the palace as part of a regular tour party and was then seen going through a door to a private area.
The source said the man was then challenged by security guards and had not got close to the royal family’s apartments.
“When questioned about why he didn’t have a pass, he ran off,” she told Reuters.
The incident comes just over a week after a fathers’ rights campaigner dressed in a Batman costume evaded armed police to scale the front of Buckingham Palace, the queen’s London residence.
Days later, five men opposed to a law banning fox hunting broke into the parliamentary debating chamber and harangued lawmakers. In another protest in May, Prime Minister Tony Blair was pelted with flour-filled condoms in parliament.
Holyroodhouse was founded as a monastery in 1128 and is used now for state ceremonies and official functions.
It lies at the bottom of Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile, one of Britain’s most visited tourist attractions.