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In 1838, a 14 year old boy broke into Queen Victoria’s Buckingham Palace while disguised as a chimney sweep then ran off with her underwear

Neil Patrick

In 1838, aged approximately 14, Edward Jones or “The Boy Jones”, entered Buckingham Palace disguised as a chimney sweep. He was caught by a porter in the Marble Hall and, after a chase, captured by the police in St James’s Street, with Queen Victoria’s underwear stuffed down his trousers. He was brought before Queen Square Police Court on 14 December. It turned out that he had frequently mentioned his intention to enter the palace to his employer, a builder. Although he had apparently stolen linen and a regimental sword from the palace, he was acquitted by the jury.

Portrait by Winterhalter, 1859 Source Wikipedia Public Domain

Portrait by Winterhalter, 1859 Source Wikipedia Public Domain

On 30 November 1840, nine days after the birth of Queen Victoria’s first child, Princess Victoria, he “scaled the wall of Buckingham Palace about half-way up Constitution Hill”, entered the palace, and left undetected. On 1 December 1840, he broke in again. Shortly after midnight, a nurse discovered him under a sofa in the Queen’s dressing room and he was arrested. His father’s plea of insanity being without success, he was sentenced to three months in a house of correction. The 1840 incident caused a stir because initially, it was feared that it might affect the Queen, what withh it happening so shortly after her childbirth.

Buckingham Palace c. 1837 with the Marble Arch in its original position. Source Wikipedia Public Domain

Buckingham Palace c. 1837 with the Marble Arch in its original position. Source Wikipedia Public Domain

Before his release from Tothill Fields Prison on 2 March 1841, attempts were made to persuade Jones to join the Navy. On 15 March 1841, after a snack in one of the royal apartments, “the boy Jones” was caught by the reinforced police force guarding the palace. This time, he was sentenced to three months hard labor.

Memorial plaque of Edward Jones By ALFAMAX1 - , CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30989250

Memorial plaque of Edward Jones By ALFAMAX1 – , CC BY-SA 3.0, 

After his second release, he refused an offer of £4 a week (£328 today) to appear in a music hall, and a short time later, he was caught loitering in the vicinity of Buckingham Palace. He was sent to do duty in the Navy and consequently served on several Navy ships, including the HMS Warspite, the HMS Inconstant, and the HMS Harlequin. After a year, he found an opportunity to walk from Portsmouth to London. Having been caught before he reached the palace, he was sent back to his ship. He was last mentioned in the newspapers in 1844, when he was rescued after going overboard between Tunis and Algiers. Jones became an alcoholic and a burglar and later went to Australia, where he became the town crier of Perth.

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