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History Rewind: The Queen shot at during Trooping the Colour

On 13 June 1981 a 17-year-old man was arrested for shooting a replica gun at The Queen as she rode past crowds on horseback.

The Queen and Prince Phillip leave Buckingham Palace for the Trooping the Colour ceremony on Horse Guards Parade.

The Queen and Prince Phillip leave Buckingham Palace for the Trooping the Colour ceremony on Horse Guards Parade.

Marcus Serjeant aimed a pistol directly at Her Majesty as she made her down Horseguards’ Parade for the beginning of the Trooping the Colour ceremony. The assailant fired six blank cartridges before being tackled by a Guardsman and police.

The shots startled Burmese, The Queen’s 18 year old horse, but she was able get Burmese under control within a few seconds. Her Majesty was only a mere 15 minutes into her ride down the Mall and was making the turn into Horseguards’ Parade when the shots were fired.

The Queen was visibly shaken by the episode, but soon regained her composure as well as reassured Burmese, the horse she has ridden since 1969 for Trooping the Colour.

This is not the first time a Royal family member was in harm’s way. 7 year prior, Princess Anne and her then husband Captain Mark Phillips escaped a kidnap attempt during which four people were injured. The royal couple was returning to Buckingham Palace along The Mall when their Rolls-Royce was made to stop by another car which obstructed their route.

The Princess’s protection officer, Inspector James Beaton got off a shot at the man before he was wounded and Alex Callender; one of The Queen’s senior drivers and chauffeur for the evening was also injured.

In 1936, about a half mile away from where shots were fired at Her Majesty, King Edward VIII encountered a man with a loaded pistol.

Queen Victoria saw numerous assassination attempts over the course of her 1837-1901 reign.

Marcus Simon Serjeant was jailed for five years under the 1842 Treason Act. The law had not been used since 1966.

Serjeant served a little over three years in jail and was released in October 1984.

photo credit: Leonard Bentley via photopin cc

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