Prince Andrew accepts police apology after confrontation

Reuters
Britain's Prince Andrew speaks at an event at Lancaster House to mark the 60th Anniversary of the Kuwait Investment Office, attended by the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, in central London
.

View photo

Britain's Prince Andrew speaks at an event at Lancaster House to mark the 60th Anniversary of the Kuwait …

By Peter Griffiths

LONDON (Reuters) - Queen Elizabeth's son Prince Andrew accepted an apology from the police on Sunday after armed officers stopped him in the gardens of Buckingham Palace, days after two men were held in a security breach at the British monarch's London residence.

Police shouted at the 53-year-old prince, fifth in line to the throne, to "put your hands up and get on the ground", the Sunday Express newspaper said, citing an unnamed royal source.

The officers had apparently failed to recognise the prince, who was strolling the grounds in broad daylight in the late afternoon after attending an event in London on Wednesday.

In a statement, Prince Andrew said: "The police have a difficult job to do balancing security for the royal family and deterring intruders, and sometimes they get it wrong.

"I am grateful for their apology and look forward to a safe walk in the garden in the future."

London's Metropolitan Police earlier confirmed that two of its officers had stopped a man in the palace gardens and asked him to verify his identity.

"The man was satisfactorily identified. No weapons were drawn and no force was used," the police said in a statement that did not name Prince Andrew.

Two days earlier, police arrested a man who had been found inside the palace on suspicion of burglary, trespass and criminal damage. A second man was arrested outside the palace on suspicion of conspiracy to commit burglary. Both men were released on bail.

The queen was not in the palace at the time but in her castle in Balmoral, Scotland.

One of the biggest breaches of royal security took place at Buckingham Palace in 1982 when an intruder, Michael Fagan, climbed a wall and then wandered into the room where the queen was in bed.

Prince Andrew, officially known as the Duke of York, had a career in the Royal Navy before working as a trade ambassador for the British government. He has two daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie, from his 10-year marriage to Sarah Ferguson.

(Editing by Angus MacSwan)