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Armed intruder at Windsor Castle arrested as Queen Elizabeth, royal family celebrated Christmas

The 19-year-old man was apprehended on the grounds before he could enter any buildings. Local police say he posed no threat to the public.

British authorities on Saturday said they arrested a man who brought a weapon onto the grounds of Windsor Castle as Queen Elizabeth and her family celebrated Christmas inside.

The 19 year-old alleged intruder is being held on charges that he breached or trespassed a protected site and was carrying an "offensive weapon," according to local police.

"We can confirm security processes were triggered within moments of the man entering the grounds and he did not enter any buildings," Rebecca Mears, Thames Valley Police superintendent, said. "Members of the Royal Family have been informed about the incident. We do not believe there is a wider danger to the public."

Police said the breach occurred at 8:30 a.m. Christmas morning.

Queen Elizabeth II, 95, along with her son, Prince Charles, and other members of the royal family are spending the holiday at Windsor castle this year after Covid-19 disrupted plans to travel to Sandringham, the royal estate in eastern England where the family traditionally celebrates the holiday.

Members of the royal family were seen later in the morning arriving for a Christmas service in the St. George Chapel in the Windsor Castle complex.

The Queen released a pre-recorded Christmas message in which she paid tribute to her husband, Prince Philip, who died in April at age 99.

The traditional holiday message spoke to the difficulties facing many around the world who are marking the holiday without loved ones and facing ongoing dangers from a new Covid variant.

“Although it’s a time of great happiness and good cheer for many, Christmas can be hard for those who have lost loved ones,” she said in the televised speech beside a framed photo of herself with her husband. “This year, especially, I understand why.”

She noted that while the pandemic makes celebrations challenging this year, "we can still enjoy the many happy traditions.”