My series review is here. Or read my episode recaps: episode 1 (Gold Stick), episode 2 (The Balmoral Test), episode 3 (Fairytale), episode 4 (Favourites), episode 6 (Terra Nullius), episode 7 (The Hereditary Principle), episode 8 (48:1), episode 9 (Avalanche), and episode 10 (War).
“How on earth did he get in? And what did they talk about?”
TV news shows report on the intruder who broke into the Queen’s bedroom and chatted to her, followed by a flashback to three months earlier – Michael Fagan is listening to Mrs Thatcher on the radio in his council flat, which is rundown with empty beds in his children’s room. He shouts at Thatcher to fuck off.
At the job centre to sign on for unemployment benefit, there are huge queues. A friend gives him some casual work as a painter and decorator. Afterwards they head to the pub, where he sees his ex-wife with her new partner; the two men have to be separated when they start trying to fight.
In their weekly meeting, Thatcher tells the Queen “the tide has turned – and the recapture of the Falkland Islands is within reach”.
Later the Duke of Edinburgh defends the Prime Minister to his wife, over the Falklands and her firm leadership.
Discussing palace security, with the PM had brought up at the meeting, the Queen gives a little speech to the Duke about how they shouldn’t be pushed further away from the public. “I take great pleasure in meeting members of the public and have learnt so much from them,” she admonishes, before she, the Duke, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret walk out into a palace garden party, whereupon all the women put on their gloves, saving them having to touch an ordinary person. The crowds are delighted to get near to the royals, while Margaret is delighted she won’t have to actually talk to them.
Michael Fagan continues signing on, coming up with outlandish jobs he claims to have had to the woman behind the desk. He goes to see his MP and rails about Thatcher; he’s mockingly told to speak to the Queen about the Prime Minister and the state of the country.
He applies for a home improvement grant, so he can fix up his flat and have his children to stay again, but he’s sent from pillar to post. At night he goes to Buckingham Palace, climbs over a fence and in through a window. Once inside he drinks a bottle of wine he finds, breaks a vase, and sneaks into the Queen’s bedroom, which is empty. He’s spotted and runs off.
The next day at Windsor Castle the Queen is informed about the intruder, She and the Duke discuss the vase that was broken, of which the Queen can remember every detail and their meanings. Martin Chartertis tells them that the alarms were malfunctioning, a window was unsecured. The Queen doesn’t want the PM or government to know about the break-in and it’s agreed everyone who knows will keep schtum.
Fagan goes to a playground and sees his wife there with their children and her new boyfriend. The men fight, and later he’s told by social workers he’s to lose all contact with his kids.
News reports announce that victory in The Falklands is assured. Thatcher’s popularity is up, and she declares that British sovereignty will be defended around the world.
Returning to Buckingham Palace in the early hours of the morning, Fagan breaks a window to get in. He goes to the Queen’s bedroom and flings open the curtains, waking her up as the sun streams in. “There is an armed policeman outside this door,” she warns him. “No there isn’t,” he replies. She calls but no one comes. He tells her he thought it would be good to meet someone who is normal to help her understand what’s happening in the country, and explains how un-normal her usual meetings with ordinary people are.
While he’s in her bathroom cleaning a cut, she presses her bell, but the noise is drowned out by a hoover in another room. Fagan talks to the Queen about the state of the palace (rundown), the state of the country (run down), the lack of community, and why she doesn’t have an electric toothbrush. She promises to bear in mind what he has said, and shakes his hand. Then Security come in, having been alerted by her morning maid, and take him away. Once he’s gone the Queen looks overcome.
Parliament is incredulous at the incident. In her meeting with Mrs Thatcher, the Queen points out how Fagan and others are struggling and asks about “our moral economy.” Thatcher doesn’t want collective responsibility, but for people to focus on themselves and their families. And then she’s off to her Falklands victory parade.
The Queen and Prince Phillip watch the parade – with Mrs Thatcher at its heart – on TV. She’s annoyed at what she sees as a breaking with protocol, while Philip again defends the Prime Minister over the parade and the increased palace security. He also apologises to his wife for not being there that night to protect her.
Michael Fagan is sent to a psychiatric hospital for three months.