May 18, 2024

A man reportedly masquerading as a priest managed to talk his way onto a British Army barracks less than 500 yards from Windsor Castle, the home of Queen Elizabeth II, last week. Soldiers at the Victoria Barracks were apparently so swayed by his story that they invited him to spend the night.

While the monarch was more than 140 miles away at her English countryside estate in Sandringham during the security breach, the incident is of particular concern given heightened security ahead of celebrations in June to mark the queen’s record 70-year reign.

“The Army takes this breach of security extremely seriously and it will be thoroughly investigated as a matter of priority,” a spokesman for the British Army told CBS News on Tuesday. The official declined to provide any further detail on the incident as it was under formal investigation.

After 70 years on the throne, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is longest-reigning monarch in history


Tabloid newspaper The Sun first reported the intruder’s remarkable stunt, saying he arrived at the barracks on Tuesday evening claiming to be friends with the base’s own priest. Let in, he then spent the evening regaling the troops with tall tales of past military escapades. He reportedly started to raise suspicions over drinks and dinner with claims to have been a military ejection seat test pilot.

Still, the Coldstream Guards infantry unit based at the barracks offered him a bed, and he stayed overnight. The next morning police arrived and took the man into custody.

U.K. news outlets said the impostor was permitted access to the barracks without showing any formal identification. The Guardian newspaper said the man, who identified himself to soldiers as “Father Cruise,” was arrested by the local Thames Valley police force. A spokesperson for the force told the paper that it responded to a report of an intruder at Victoria Barracks at 9.20 a.m. on Wednesday.

Coldstream guards march in front of Wind
Soldiers of the British Army’s Coldstream Guards march in front of Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, in an April 7, 2005 file photo.


“Officers attended and removed the intruder from the barracks. No further action was required,” the police told The Guardian.

The last notable security breach near Windsor Castle was on Christmas Day in 2021, when an armed intruder was arrested on the castle’s grounds. The queen and her family were celebrating Christmas at the castle at the time.

Police said they were notified and responded to that incident “within moments of the man entering the grounds.” The 19-year-old man from England did not enter any buildings on the sprawling Windsor estate and was later sectioned under the U.K.’s Mental Health Act.

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