On 13th June 1981 came the annual tradition of celebrating a Monarch’s birthday, Trooping the Colour. It was up to a point going as smoothly and as happily as the previous thirty had gone. The change this year came when teenager Marcus Sarjeant fired six blanks at Queen Elizabeth II as she rode her horse, Burmese, down The Mall. Sarjeant joined the crowds and as the Queen rode past he took his shots. It wasn’t until afterwards did everyone present find out that the shots were blanks so naturally everybody thought this was an attempt on the Monarch’s life. Sarjeant claimed he just “wanted to be famous” and “be a somebody”, usually if somebody wants to be famous they become an actor or a singer, not try to assassinate their Monarch.
This wasn’t however the first time an attempt had been made on a member of The Royal Family both in the House of Windsor and its predecessors.
On 20th March 1974, Princess Anne was returning to Buckingham Palace from a charity event when the limousine she was travelling in was forced to stop by another car. The driver of this car, Ian Ball, who was armed, wanted Anne out of the car. Several attempts were made to stop Ball, all attempts proved nearly fatal. When asking Anne to get out of the car she famously replied “not bloody likely”. It wasn’t until a passing pedestrian intervened did the situation begin to calm, had that pedestrian not have been passing, the outcome may have been much, much worse.
On 30th May 1842, Queen Victoria was riding in a carriage along The Mall when a man named John Francis aimed a pistol at her and shot, fortunately the shots missed and Francis was caught and sentenced to transportation for life. In similar attacks, John William Bean tried to fire a pistol at the Queen, but it was a pistol only loaded with paper and tobacco. In 1849 William Hamilton used a pistol to fire at the Queen as she travelled down Constitution Hill. It was an attack in 1850 that actually left the Queen injured, Robert Pate struck the Queen with his cane, crushing her bonnet and bruising her forehead, the only attack on the Queen in which she sustained an injury.
Surely the biggest attempt on The Royal Family came about during the Second World War when the Luftwaffe bombed Buckingham Palace, a deliberate attack to try and kill the King and Queen, an attack that thankfully didn’t pay off.
If there are any I have missed please comment below.
It just goes to show that not everybody out there are supporters of our Monarchy or maybe like Marcus Sarjeant, they just want to be recognised.
A bit of a drastic way to get recognised, don’t you think!
To receive the latest Royal Central posts straight to your email inbox, enter your email address below and press subscribe.
Join 350 other subscribers