A British tabloid on Sunday accused Buckingham Palace of failing to protect Queen Elizabeth II after one of its reporters entered the royal garage without a security check.
Mazher Mahmood, of the London-based News of the World, claimed he was allowed to enter the property after paying a man identified as a Buckingham chauffeur £1,000 ($1,591). Footage of the scheme filmed undercover showed the chauffeur giving Mahmood, whose face was blurred, a tour of the royal fleet of limos and, at one point, allowing him to sit in one of the vehicles. “Nobody stopped him, nobody actually challenged him,” Mahmood’s editor, Robert Jobson, told ITN. “It actually exposes a serious lapse in security at Buckingham Palace.” Buckingham Palace spokeswoman Ailsa Anderson said officials are investigating the tabloid’s allegation of a security breach, but declined further comment. Jobson said even senior members of the royal family and longtime staffers are required to present photo identification cards upon entry to the palace. “Our investigator is sitting where the queen sits in the royal limo,” Jobson said, referring to the video. “And the fact is, we’ve been told that security has been tightened up, that these things wouldn’t happen again, new rules and regulations were brought in — they simply haven’t worked.”
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Buckingham Palace has experienced a number of high-profile security lapses in the past. In 2003 an investigation was launched after “comedy terrorist” Aaron Barschak gatecrashed Prince William’s 21st birthday party at Windsor Castle, Britain’s Press Association reported. Wearing a dress, beard and sunglasses, Barschak climbed on stage as the prince addressed the crowd, and kissed him on both cheeks. That same year, a journalist with the Daily Mirror newspaper spent two months “working undercover” as a palace footman.