Armed Man Arrested at Windsor Castle While Queen Elizabeth II at Residence for Christmas

Police in the United Kingdom arrested an armed suspect on the grounds of Windsor Castle on Christmas Day as Queen Elizabeth II was at the residence for the holiday.

The BBC reported Saturday that Thames Valley Police detained the man, who reportedly had an "offensive weapon." The suspect is 19 years old and hails from Southhampton, according to police. He was arrested within "moments" of intruding on the castle property.

"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, the Associated Press reported. "We can confirm security processes were triggered within moments of the man entering the grounds and he did not enter any buildings."

Windsor Castle
A view of the exteriors of St George's Chapel and Windsor Castle on April 16 in Windsor, United Kingdom. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Mears also said that the incident remained under investigation, the BBC reported. The police superintendent went on to say that authorities "do not believe there is a wider danger to the public."

The queen is currently at Windsor Castle for Christmas. Typically, the queen spends the holiday with her family at Sandringham, the royal estate in eastern England.

Newsweek reached out to press representatives for the castle for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

The queen, 95, and the royal family scaled back their holiday plans due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and recent surge in cases driven by the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus. This marked the queen's second year in a row celebrating the holidays at Windsor. She's scaled back several recent engagements due to COVID-19 and other health reasons.

As per tradition, the queen shared a Christmas message with her subjects and the world on Saturday. However, the message was prerecorded at Windsor last week, according to The Washington Post.

"Although it's a time of great happiness and good cheer for many, Christmas can be hard for those who have lost loved ones," she said in her remarks. "This year, especially, I understand why." The queen's husband, Prince Phillip, died in April at the age of 99 after more than 70 years of marriage to Elizabeth II.

"But for me, in the months since the death of my beloved Philip, I have drawn great comfort from the warmth and affection of the many tributes to his life and work—from around the country, the Commonwealth and the world," the queen continued. "His sense of service, intellectual curiosity and capacity to squeeze fun out of any situation—were all irrepressible. That mischievous, enquiring twinkle was as bright at the end as when I first set eyes on him," she added.

The queen also mentioned the ongoing pandemic and how it's impacting people in her kingdom and around the world.

"While Covid again means we can't celebrate quite as we may have wished, we can still enjoy the many happy traditions," she said. "Be it the singing of carols (as long as the tune is well known); decorating the tree; giving and receiving presents; or watching a favorite film where we already know the ending, it's no surprise that families so often treasure their Christmas routines."

This story was updated with more information and background.