Infamous York student Patrick Thelwell (They/Them) gained international attention for throwing eggs at King Charles last year. This included news coverage in everything from the local press to major worldwide news outlets, from the Daily Mail to The Guardian; even bagging an interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV. Vision sat down with Patrick on the 27th of April.
“I was going to just take a megaphone and just shout at the guy, but on that morning my megaphone was broken, so I was like f**k it I’ll just get some eggs.
Pretty much as soon as I threw the eggs, the crowd started attacking me – grabbing my hair and shouting kill him, stick his head on a spike and all that. One of the police officers was trying to shut me up so he had his hand over my mouth and his thumb in my eye at the same time. They had me pinned on the floor, there was someone with his knee on the back of my neck. And then someone in the crowd asked ‘can he breathe?’ and someone else was like ‘I don’t care if he can breathe, he can rot in hell.’”
Patrick was arrested after the incident at Micklegate Bar, and was put on trial on the 14th of April 2023 at York Magistrates’ Court.
In the trial, Patrick was found guilty on one count of threatening behaviour for throwing the eggs and shouting abuse.
They were sentenced to a 12-month community order with 100 hours of unpaid work and required to pay prosecution costs of £600.
Reflecting on it all now, Patrick said “at the end of the day I see what I did as violent. My argument was it was necessary violence. It was justified violence. It was in defence of the lives of other people who are killed every day as a consequence of the British state’s policies.”
Many people are wary of ‘white saviour’ activists who take this sort of stance.
“I know that I have got privilege: I’m white, I’m middle-class and I wanted to use that privilege to take actions that other people would have wanted to but couldn’t. You know, I was essentially let off with it by the Judge.
“After it happened I received literally thousands of messages from people all around the world who told me that they supported my actions. I had indigenous people from Canada say what it meant to them, people in Palestine, people in Iran who are currently fighting on the streets being shot at saying that they appreciate it. People in Thailand who have a very oppressive monarchy saying that they appreciate someone taking a stand.”
Patrick is known for ruffling feathers. In 2020, they were arrested and found guilty the following year for “obstructing a highway” in environmental protests against Murdoch’s NewsCorp.
Patrick says the egging was also a protest against the government’s environmental complacency: “The government’s climate policy is killing people because they are continuing to invest in new oil and gas production which will raise temperatures and will mean more floods, more droughts, more forest fires, more famine and more death.”
Patrick says the egging was a protest against the monarchy too for their lack of climate change action.
However, some would argue the King is actually a climate change activist, speaking about it before it was on the international agenda.
“This is someone who is supposed to care so much – but what has that man sacrificed to get that message out there?”
Patrick’s other motivation was to take a stance against the Royal Family being above the law, explaining that the Queen opted out of the equality legislation so she didn’t “have to hire black servants”.
“I think the only way to hold them accountable is to put them on trial, whether they are there or not. An independent assessment of the facts. I say that they are complicit in crimes against humanity. But don’t take my word for it, we need to investigate these and an independent jury needs to draw its own conclusions. We are going to have to create our own justice, I don’t mean mob justice, or violent justice, like going through a proper procedure.
If we suddenly had billions of pounds worth of really expensive housing, and acres and acres of forests and fields then the possibilities are essentially endless, we could actually start to meaningfully tackle climate breakdown.”
So, for Patrick, throwing the eggs was about contributing to a broader discussion. “I’m both an extreme pessimist and an extreme optimist; I don’t believe we’re going to stop climate change, it’s too late, civilisation is going to collapse. I also think perhaps because of that we are going to have a global revolution where we have a chance to essentially come up with a better system.”
“Whilst I don’t regret my actions, I don’t think that’s how change is going to happen because I’m just one person. I believe in mobilising the collective intelligence to achieve real social change”
Since conducting this interview, Patrick has been arrested again for protesting at the coronation of King Charles III and has moved to Hull to join Cooperation Hull, an activist group organising a citizen’s assembly to place power back into the hands of the local community.