Police arrest armed intruder on Windsor Castle grounds, where Queen Elizabeth II spending holiday

The Associated Press

LONDON — British police arrested a man armed with a weapon on the grounds of Windsor Castle on Saturday.

Thames Valley police said the security breach took place at 8:30 a.m. on Christmas Day. The 19-year-old from Southampton is in custody.

“The man has been arrested on suspicion of breach or trespass of a protected site and possession of an offensive weapon. He remains in custody at this time,’’ Thames Valley Police Superintendent Rebecca Mears said. “We can confirm security processes were triggered within moments of the man entering the grounds and he did not enter any buildings."

Members of the royal family have been informed.

Queen Elizabeth II is spending the Christmas holidays at Windsor, having decided not to stay at Sandringham, the royal estate in eastern England where she traditionally spends the festive season with family.

Police guard the Henry VIII gate at Windsor Castle at Windsor, England on Christmas Day, Saturday, Dec. 25, 2021. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has stayed at Windsor Castle instead of spending Christmas at her Sandringham estate due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In case you missed:Queen Elizabeth II gives tribute to Prince Philip in first Christmas speech without him

The queen gave her first Christmas speech since the death of her husband, Prince Philip, earlier this year.

"Although it’s a time of great happiness and good cheer for many, Christmas can be hard for those who have lost loved ones," the queen's speech began. "This year, especially, I understand why."

Beside Elizabeth lay a photograph of her with Philip, taken for their diamond wedding anniversary (2007) in Broadlands, Hampshire.

Philip died in April, two months shy of his 100th birthday. Coronavirus restrictions in place at the time of his funeral meant that Elizabeth sat alone – a poignant symbol of how she would spend her life going forward as a widow.

She donned an embossed wool shift dress in Christmas red, an Angela Kelly piece, for the Christmas broadcast, and the sapphire chrysanthemum brooch she wore on her honeymoon and in photographs celebrating her diamond wedding anniversary.

Contributing: David Oliver and Maria Puente, USA TODAY

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