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Police confront Britain's Prince Andrew in palace gardens - report

by FP Staff  Sep 8, 2013 18:46 IST

LONDON (Reuters) - Queen Elizabeth's son Prince Andrew was confronted by armed police in the gardens of Buckingham Palace, a newspaper reported on Sunday, days after two men were arrested in a security breach at the British monarch's main London residence.

Police shouted at the 53-year-old prince to "put your hands up and get on the ground," the Sunday Express said, citing an unnamed royal source. He was said to be strolling the grounds after attending an event in central London on Wednesday.

London's Metropolitan Police 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. A police spokesman refused to confirm the man was Prince Andrew and a royal spokesman declined to comment.

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.

Former London police chief Ian Blair said it was impossible to make any site completely secure.

"They will have to look at this," he told Sky News. "The story of the burglar is a much more difficult story than the Andrew story."

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. (Reporting by Peter Griffiths; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)