An alternative pop duo, best known for their soundtrack to the erotic film The Duke of Burgundy, managed to breach Buckingham Palace security and perform in front of unwitting guests after blagging their way in disguised as a Renaissance music ensemble.
In a publicity stunt captured on video the group, Cat’s Eyes, are shown performing a track from their new album at a private art talk at the Queen’s gallery last month.
In the video, the guests politely applaud after a rendition of “We’ll be Waiting” sung by Cat’s Eyes’ Faris Badwan, a frontman for the Horrors, accompanied by his musical partner multi-instrumentalist and opera singer Rachel Zeffira, playing a period wind instrument called the dulican.
They were playing alongside five other musicians from a genuine Renaissance musical ensemble, whose faces are pixelated in the video, and who appeared to be in on the stunt.
It is not the first time Cat’s Eyes have used their musical contacts to gatecrash a prominent venue. They performed their debut gig with a choir in front of several cardinals at the Vatican in 2011.
Their soundtrack to Peter Strickland’s film The Duke of Burgundy was given a five-star review by the Guardian.
The Queen’s gallery video includes audio from a phone call apparently from a palace official mentioning band member Rachel Zeffira and questioning the credentials of the invited musicians.
The official is heard saying: “There were a couple of things that we weren’t aware of regarding the musicians and we just wanted to follow this up.” This is followed by shaky footage of the group passing through security after being scanned by security guards.
The Royal Collection, which runs the Queen’s gallery, adjacent to Buckingham Palace, confirmed that Cat’s Eye did not have permission to perform.
In a statement it said: “The event was an evening view at the Queen’s gallery and shop ... All attendees were subject to a security search on entry to the gallery. Musicians often perform at the gallery, and though permission had not been arranged prior to the event, the decision was made to facilitate the performance on this occasion.”
Although the gallery is run as a separate entity from the palace, the stunt raises further questions about palace security. There have been several high-profile breaches of royal security since 1982 when Michael Fagan was arrested in the Queen’s bedroom.
In 2003, Mirror reporter Ryan Parry got a job as a palace footman by using a false reference. A year later, a Fathers 4 Justice campaigner dressed as Batman staged a protest on the palace balcony.
And in 2013, a suspected burglar was arrested in a palace state room after getting through three layers of security.