Buckingham Palace
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are not thought to have been at Buckingham Palace during the incidentGetty Images

Two activists have been arrested after spending nearly eight hours on a roof at Buckingham Palace in a protest over fathers' rights. Campaigners from New Fathers 4 Justice and Stop The War On Dads, groups in favour of equal rights for fathers in divorce and separation proceedings, used a ladder to climb atop the Queen's Gallery at around 3.15pm GMT on 29 November.

Reports say the Queen and Prince Philip were not at the palace when the incident happened. A spokesman for the activists told the Press Association news agency that another campaigner had caused a distraction outside the palace while the men scaled the roof.

Scotland Yard said officers were called to the scene at 4.28pm. The incident ended at around 11pm when the two men came down voluntarily and were arrested for trespassing and breaching a secured area.

'Worth the risk'

The two activists were identified as Martin Matthews, 48, from Surrey and Bobby Smith, 33 from Stevenage, Hertfordshire. A third campaigner, James Dennis from Bishops Cleeve, Gloucestershire, also allegedly tried to climb the roof but failed as security services arrived.

Speaking from the roof, Matthews told PA that he was aware of the risks of staging such a high-profile protest, especially in the wake of the terror attacks in Paris. "Obviously there were a few concerns. People are going to be nervous at the moment," he said. "But even if I had taken a bullet, it would have been worth the risk."

He spoke of the ease at which he was able to breach security at Buckingham Palace and added that he was "delighted" that the protest had raised awareness of fathers' rights. "We parked a road away and came with a long ladder and walked past a number of armed policemen. They presumed we were workmen," he said.

Smith scaled Westminster Abbey to stage a similar protest on Father's Day in June. He managed to hang banners from scaffolding at the top of the iconic London church.