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British Royal Family

Break-ins, robberies and an attempted kidnapping: Six royal crimes that shook the regal Firm

The incidents left the family reeling.

By Emma Babbington
From attempted kidnappings to breaking into Buckingham palace the British Royal family have been victims of plenty of shocking crimes.
We look back at six of the crimes that left the family reeling.

Diana’s stolen love letters

In 1998, love letters sent by Princess Diana to James Hewitt were stolen from a safe in the former army captain's home.
The 64 letters, written between 1989 and 1991, were allegedly taken by James' ex-fiancee Anna Ferretti, who then tried to sell them to a British newspaper.
The media group handed the letters over to Kensington Palace without publishing them.
Love letters written by Diana were stolen from a safe. (Getty)
But while Anna was arrested and questioned by police, and later said she regretted her actions, she wasn't prosecuted.
If she had been, the letters would have become court exhibits, which could have embarrassed the royal family.

Palace thief nabbed

Adamo Canto was jailed for eight months in January after stealing what police called a "significant quantity" of items from Buckingham Palace, where he worked as a catering assistant.
During the court case it was revealed Canto took 77 items from the palace shops, staff lockers and a royal storeroom.
They included signed photos of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, medals and a bespoke Samsung phone manufactured for Prince Andrew. The items were then sold on eBay.
The 37-year-old's defence for stealing was that he'd got into debt because his palace pay was "minimal" and he couldn't sustain the lifestyle he wanted.

Bloody attempt to kidnap a princess

In March 1974, the Queen's daughter and her then husband Captain Mark Phillips were returning to Buckingham Palace after a charity film event when a car overtook them and blocked the road.
The driver, later revealed to be Ian Ball, pulled out a handgun, shot Anne's chauffeur and security officer as well as a passing journalist.
Police found handcuffs, tranquillisers and a ransom letter addressed to the Queen in Ball's car. (Getty)
After the attack. (Getty)
When Ball told Anne he intended to kidnap her and told her to get out of the car, she famously replied, "Not bloody likely!"
Ball was apprehended and eventually pleaded guilty to attempted murder and kidnapping. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and is still detained in a secure psychiatric institution.

The Queen’s intruder

In 1982, Michael Fagan famously managed to break into Buckingham Palace – twice!
During his first attempt the then 33-year-old Londoner climbed up a drainpipe and into a royal housemaid's bedroom.
She ran to get help but by the time she returned, Fagan had moved to another part of the palace.
He later described spending half an hour wandering around, sitting on different thrones and even drinking half a bottle of wine before leaving.
The second break-in occurred a month later.
This time, after scaling the four-metre palace wall, Fagan entered the Queen's bedroom.
The Queen was shaken after an intruder infiltrated Buckingham Palace. (getty)
Different versions of what happened next have been reported – and dramatised on The Crown – but in a 2012 interview Fagan denied sitting at the end of her Majesty's bed and talking to her.
Instead, he claimed that as soon as the Queen became aware of his presence, she called security on the phone and when no-one answered, ran off to get help.
A footman then escorted Fagan from the room and soon after he was arrested.
Although he wasn't jailed for the trespass, Fagan did spend time in a psychiatric hospital and was later jailed for four years for conspiring to supply heroin

The butler’s stash

Former royal butler Paul Burrell was arrested for theft in January 2001 after a raid on his home led to the recovery of thousands of items police believed were taken from Diana's Kensington Palace apartment.
The possessions included paintings, drawings, china, photographs, clothes and even personal notes from the late princess to her sons.
The catering assistant pleaded guilty to three counts of theft. (Getty)
But just days into the trial, the case dramatically collapsed. It was revealed the Queen had suddenly recalled a meeting soon after Diana's death during which Paul had told her that he'd kept some of her possessions for safekeeping.
It was later alleged the Queen intervened to stop the case after Prince Charles became concerned by what Diana's trusted aide would reveal in court.

Margaret and the gangster

For years it has been rumoured that criminals attempted to rob a London bank in 1971 to get their hands on compromising photos of Princess Margaret and actor-cum-gangster John Bindon.
The photos were allegedly taken while the couple were holidaying together in Mustique and then locked away in the vaults of a central London bank to ensure they never got into the wrong hands.
Margaret poses with John – who is wearing a T-shirt with the slogan "Enjoy Cocaine" – in Mustique. (Getty)
Whether or not the rumours were true, the burglars were overheard planning the heist on walkie-talkies and four gang members were eventually arrested.
The photographs have never been published.

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