A crossbow-wielding intruder in the grounds of Windsor Castle approached a police officer and announced he was there “to kill the Queen”, a court has heard.
Jaswant Singh Chail is charged with intending to injure or alarm the Queen under the little-used Treason Act after he was arrested on Christmas Day last year.
The 20-year-old, from Southampton, is the first person in more than 40 years to be charged with offences under the 1842 legislation.
He is also charged with making threats to kill and possessing an offensive weapon in a public place, namely a crossbow.
The defendant appeared before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday via video link from Broadmoor high-security psychiatric hospital.
Wearing a black bomber jacket and black T-shirt, he spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and address.
Kathryn Selby, prosecuting, said that Mr Singh was spotted in the grounds of Windsor Castle at around 8.10am on Christmas Day, wearing a hood and mask.
As he approached a police officer stationed near the private apartments of the castle, Mr Singh is alleged to have said: “I am here to kill the Queen”.
He was carrying a crossbow loaded with a bolt and the safety catch off, so it was ready to fire, the court heard.
The Supersonic X-Bow weapon he is said to have been carrying had the potential to cause “serious or fatal injuries”, according to the prosecutor.
She said the allegations were not being treated as a “terrorism offence” but had been dealt with by the Counter-Terrorism Division.
At the time, the Queen, 96, was spending Christmas at Windsor rather than Sandringham, as is traditional, due to concerns over the spread of the new Covid variant.
Mr Chail was not asked to enter pleas to any of the charges and Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring remanded him in custody ahead of his next appearance at the Old Bailey on Sept 14.
In 1981 Marcus Sarjeant was jailed for five years after pleading guilty under the 1842 Treason Act, which makes it an offence to assault the Queen, or have a firearm or offensive weapon in her presence with intent to injure or alarm her or to cause a breach of peace.
He had fired blank shots at the Queen while she was riding down The Mall in London during the Trooping the Colour parade in 1981.
The last person to be convicted under the separate and more serious 1351 Treason Act was William Joyce, also known as Lord Haw-Haw, who collaborated with Germany during the Second World War.