Over the years there have been a few occasions when someone has tried to get inside Buckingham Palace in order to see the Queen. With the exception of one famous episode when an intruder got into the Queen’s bedroom and for a time talked to her before help arrived and he was arrested, most attempts get no further than the outer wall or the grounds. As you might expect, security is tight.
However, there is also the case of a person outside royal circles who ended up being alone with the monarch in his private chambers and coming out of it all the richer. We need to go back to 1905 in the reign of Edward VII. The person involved was completely innocent and only ended up in this situation by circumstances beyond his immediate control.
I don’t have his name but he worked at a local art gallery. The Palace had purchased a work of art and it was to be hung in the king’s private study at the palace. The porter brought the picture to the palace and was shown to the study and left alone to hang the picture in its new home. Unfortunately, although the job only took less than fifteen minutes to complete, the palace official who took him to the room forgot all about him.
The porter didn’t know what to do. He couldn’t very well leave the room and go wandering about the palace. There was no other choice, he stayed put and waited. He looked around and walked over to a desk and sat down. He noticed a sheaf of notepaper all with the heading of Buckingham Palace at the top of each sheet. It was too much of a temptation and he began to write on one of the sheets.
Suddenly, someone entered the room. To the porter’s shock, it was Edward VII. He immediately leapt out of the chair. The king was intrigued and walked over to the desk and read what had been written. It started with, “Dear Dad, Please note change of address…” Edward was known for his liking of practical jokes and immediately saw the funny side of the situation.
So, instead of calling out the guard and having the poor porter arrested, he gave him a guinea which at one pound and five pence in today’s money, was a lot in 1905. The porter left with his new found money, but what of the king? Well, it is said that he dined out on that story for many years to come.