The fifth episode of the new series, which launched on Sunday, opens with global news reports of a break-in at Buckingham Palace: an intruder had climbed over a fence and into the palace grounds, before scaling a drainpipe and entering the royal quarters.
During the episode, Tom Brooke’s Michael Fagan struggles to cope with the breakup of his relationship and can be seen joining long lines of people signing up for the dole.
As he sits on the bus driving past Buckingham Palace, he is inspired to break in by scaling a fence and entering the grounds.
He enters the building through a window and is able to walk into the throne room, where he sits in one of the thrones, before drinking a bottle of wine and smashing a vase.
Later, Prince Philip and the Queen, who are staying at Windsor, are told about the intruder at the palace.
In another scene, Fagan breaks in again by smashing a window, before strolling through the palace and into the Queen’s bedroom.
The intruder approaches the Her Majesty’s bedside, where she is asleep and drowsily wakes up, mistaking him for Prince Philip. After Fagan sits on the bed, the Queen wakes up with a start and demands that he ‘get out’.
Fagan tells her he just ‘wants to tell her what’s going on in the country…because either “she doesn’t know or doesn’t care”.’
When the Queen tries to reach for the phone, Fagan pulls it from her hand and ask her to ‘give him a minute.’
He explains: ‘I just thought it might be good for you to meet someone normal who can tell it to you as it is.’
The pair discuss the state of the building, with Fagan calling it ‘rundown’, before the conversation turns to politics.
Fagan tells her: ‘You’re my last resort, someone who can actually do something.’ He pleads with the monarch to ‘save us all from her… Thatcher. She’s destroying the country.’
The Queen, dressed in her nightgown, sits down with Fagan to tell him ‘the state can help with all of this’ .
They discuss where he lives, as well as whether Thatcher is becoming too ‘presidential’, with Fagan warning the monarch that ‘she’ll be after your job.’
The conversation ends with the interruption of a maid with the Queen’s morning tea, who fetches a policeman.
As the security guard bursts into the room, the Queen shakes his hand and tells him: ‘I shall bear in mind what you’ve said.’
Later Margaret Thatcher goes on to apologize to the Queen for the ‘troublemaker’ who ‘resorted to violence’ by breaking into the palace.
The Queen tells her: ‘He wasn’t violent. The only person he hurt was himself. While he may be a troubled soul, I don’t think he’s entirely to blame for it himself.’
She goes on to cite unemployment figures to Thatcher, who says: ‘If unemployment is temporarily high, it is a necessary side effect to the medicine we are administering to the British economy.’
But the Queen expresses sympathy for Fagan, questioning the prime minister about the state of the ‘moral economy’ in the UK.