The Crown’s Michael Fagan admitted he was ‘high on mushrooms’ when he broke into Palace
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Mr Fagan, a painter-decorator from London, hit headlines in the Eighties when he successfully broke into the Queen’s London residence twice. The second time he even managed to find his way to her bedroom and spoke to her for several minutes before staff alerted the police, who came to arrest him. Episode five of The Crown follows Mr Fagan, a man down on his luck during the brutal years of Margaret Thatcher’s premiership.
He has lost his job, his wife has left him and he is not allowed to see his children.
When he breaks into the Queen’s bedroom, he insists he only wants to talk to her, and have her meet “someone normal” who can tell her what it’s really like to be struggling as he is.
In the show, he even asks her to “save us all” from Mrs Thatcher and at the end, the Queen tells him she will “bear in mind” what he said.
Mr Fagan, played by Tom Brooke, appears to be very reasonable and in control, but the real Mr Fagan has since admitted he was on psychedelic drugs at the time.
In an interview with The Independent in 2012, he said: “I went back because I thought, ‘That’s naughty, that’s naughty that I can walk round there’.
“I forgot you’re only supposed to take a little handful [of magic mushrooms].
“Two years later I was still coming down. I was high on mushrooms for a long, long time.”
It’s also believed that alcohol may be partly to blame for the incident.
What’s more, according to the 1982 Scotland Yard report of the incident, Mr Fagan had planned to harm himself in front of the Queen.
Before meeting her, he entered an anteroom first where he broke an ashtray.
Then, he entered her room at 7.15am carrying a piece of the broken ashtray with him, which he intended to use to hurt himself.
While this is not shown in The Crown, the Queen does notice that he is “bleeding” and directs him to the bathroom where he can clean himself up.
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After Mr Fagan was arrested, he was not charged for breaking into the Palace, because at the time it was only a civil wrong, not a criminal offense.
Instead, he was charged with theft for drinking a bottle of wine, but was acquitted.
After an evaluation, he was sent to a top-security psychiatric hospital in Liverpool for three months.
After a seven-hour mental health tribunal in January 1983, Mr Fagan walked free.
However, later got into trouble with the law on two separate occasions.
Two years after the Palace break-in, he attacked a police officer at a cafe in Fishguard, Wales and was given a three month suspended sentence.
In 1997, he was imprisoned for four years after he, his wife and their 20-year-old son were charged with conspiring to supply heroin.
Mr Fagan, who still lives in London, said he was not approached by The Crown’s creators to contribute to the episode about him.
He claimed they used “a lot of artistic license” when depicting his royal encounter.
For example, he insisted he never discussed Margaret Thatcher with the Queen, and in fact they exchanged very few words.
For help or guidance related to mental health difficulties, please call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email [email protected]
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