LONDON (Reuters Life!) - A 19th Century intruder sat on Queen Victoria’s throne, slept in one of her servant’s beds, hid under her sofa, read her private letters and even stole a pair of her voluminous silk knickers.
Yet he was just an ordinary 14-year-old boy -- one of Britain’s first celebrity stalkers.
The story of Edward Jones, known to London’s Victorian police as “Boy Jones,” has been pieced together using contemporary newspaper reports of the monarch’s early reign.
According to Jan Bondeson of Cardiff University, who spent five years writing a book on the lad’s fascination with the Royal Family, he broke into Buckingham Palace at least three times between 1838 and 1841.
Jones, who, according to Bondeson’s book “Queen Victoria and the Stalker,” managed to get within a few feet of the young monarch, alarmed authorities who tried to keep accounts of his break-ins secret.
On one occasion he was caught red-handed with a pair of the young monarch’s knickers stuffed down his trousers, said a spokeswoman for the book’s publisher Amberley Publishing.
“If he had come into my bedroom, how frightened I would have been,” Victoria wrote in her journal after the boy was hauled out from underneath a sofa in her dressing room.
The incidents echo the feat more recently of drifter Michael Fagan, who broke into Buckingham Palace in 1982 and walked into the bedroom of the present Queen Elizabeth.
She woke up to find him sitting on the end of her bed, and kept him talking until she could summon help.
The Victorian intruder, under questioning, revealed he repeatedly broke into the royal apartments because he had always wanted to visit the palace and tell the world what he had seen and heard.
Prosecuted behind closed doors because of fears of what he might reveal -- a truly scandalous proposition at the time -- he was imprisoned without charge or fair trial.
He was subsequently deported to Australia after he failed to kick his habit, persistently breaking into the palace after every release.
Editing by Steve Addison