A soldier at Buckingham Palace pointed his bayonet-fixed rifle at a member of the public after an argument erupted at the gates, it was reported yesterday.
The soldier, on guard duty, left his post to intervene when a man refused to stop shouting at a police officer manning the gates of Queen Elizabeth's official London residence on Friday.
The Sun newspaper's front page had a picture of the Queen's Guard, in his scarlet tunic and black bearskin hat, pointing the weapon at the man, the tip of the bayonet less than an arm's length away from his neck.
The Sun quoted a sightseer who said the "intruder" was trying to get closer or inside, and the guard eventually pushed the man away. A police spokesman said the man eventually left after being given "words of advice". He was not arrested.
"Police were made aware of a disturbance at the north-centre gate of Buckingham Palace at approximately 5.50pm on Friday," the spokesman said. "Officers ... spoke to a man and he was given words of advice and there were no arrests."
The soldier is not thought to be facing any action over the palace incident.
A British army spokesman said: "We are aware of an incident outside Buckingham Palace on Friday and while no one came to any harm and there were no arrests, we are very clear that the Metropolitan Police lead on royal security arrangements including outside the palace itself."
Buckingham Palace declined to comment.
In January this year, a man was jailed for 16 months for trying to storm into the palace armed with a knife to complain to the queen about his welfare payments.
The most serious breach at Buckingham Palace came in 1982 when an unemployed man, Michael Fagan, got inside the queen's private chambers while she was in bed.
Fagan, who had climbed over the palace walls and scaled a drainpipe, spent 10 minutes talking to the sovereign before she was able to raise the alarm.