Armed guards rushed Prince Andrew and confronted him as he walked the grounds of Buckingham Palace, the primary home of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.
The guards apparently didn't recognize the 53-year-old prince who had gone for a stroll after an engagement.
The Sunday Express newspaper, which first broke the report, reported, "Prince Andrew held at gunpoint in Buckingham Palace terror." The newspaper's royal editor said the incident lasted about 30 seconds and guns were drawn by skittish guards who thought Andrew was an intruder.
The two officers reportedly demanded that the prince get on the ground and put his heads up. The prince, who was wearing a jacket and tie, refused to do so, and demanded, "Don't you know who I am?" according to the Daily Mail. The Falkland War veteran eventually convinced the officers that he was indeed the queen's second-oldest son.
This confrontation came after an actual intruder was discovered prowling the palace grounds Monday night. An intruder was arrested after having scaled the fence around the palace. He and an alleged accomplice were arrested on multiple charges. The man reportedly was in a state room trying to smash a glass door with a fire extinguisher that was near the queen's private rooms.
London's Metropolitan police force said in a statement that no guns were drawn during Wednesday night's ordeal with the prince. The agency said two officers had "approached a man in the gardens of Buckingham Palace to verify his identity. The man was satisfactorily identified. No weapons were drawn and no force was used."
London tabloids reported that Andrew was furious, but he issued a benign statement with a touch of humor.
"Police have a difficult job to do balancing security for the royal family and deterring intruders and sometimes they get it wrong," the prince wrote. "I'm grateful for their apology and look forward to a safe walk in the garden in the future."
Police appreciated Andrew's acceptance of the mistake.
"We are grateful to The Duke for his understanding and have apologized for any inconvenience caused," the statement concluded.
The Associated Press reported that on BBC television former royal protection officer Dai Davies cautioned that, even if the story had been blown out of proportion by the press, the incident "does sound a little unusual."
Because the queen and her husband, Prince Philip, are on holiday in Scotland, the palace and part of its grounds are open for certain hours to the public in late summer.
Andrew has been in the headlines recently for his love life. British tabloids are reporting that he has rekindled his romance with his flame-haired former wife, Sarah Ferguson. The couple has remained especially close after their divorce in part because of their two daughters. Friends say an official reunion is unlikely while Philip is alive because he has great disdain for how she has embarrassed the royal family over the years.
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