To Top

The man who attempted to assassinate The Queen

The day is 13th June 1981, The Queen’s Birthday Parade is just getting underway and The Queen was riding on her horse Burmese to Horse Guards Parade to begin the Troop.

Her Majesty was about to turn into the Parade ground when, from the crowd, six shots were fired. 17-year-old Marcus Serjeant had planned, and nearly succeeded, to go to the troop with a live firearm to assassinate Her Majesty.

As the shots were fired, The Queen’s horse, Burmese, shied at the noise and almost bolted. Her Majesty, almost completely unflinching, only leant forward to comfort Burmese.

Panic had erupted in the crowd, and a Scots Guardsman lining the street grabbed Serjeant from the crowd and disarmed him before police took him away to be questioned.

It was only after police inspected the weapon and questioned Serjeant that they discovered the weapon he was using in fact only shot blanks.

Serjeant had said in an interview with Police that he had tried to obtain a live firearm and intended to assassinate The Queen, because he ‘wanted to be famous’.

He sent a letter to Buckingham Palace prior to his attack which warned The Queen not to ride out for Trooping the Colour, saying: ” Your Majesty, Don’t go to the Trooping the Colour ceremony, because there is an assassin set up to kill you, waiting just outside the palace”. The letter was received 3 days later – had Serjeant used live ammunition, the outcome of the events would have been very different.

The skill of Her Majesty in bringing her horse under control and then carrying on with the Troop and the bravery of the Scots Guardsman in detaining Serjeant all contributed to a successful recovery from the attempt.

Marcus Serjeant was jailed for 5 years under the 1842 Treason Act for, ‘wilfully discharging at the person of Her Majesty the Queen a blank cartridge pistol, with intent to alarm her.’

More in History

  • The death of Prince Albert – Part One

    In a two-part series, our Historian, Elizabeth Jane Timms, looks back at the death of Prince Albert: Prince Albert, the beloved...

    Elizabeth Jane Timms14th Dec 2018
  • Royal Snow and Snowmen

    The onset of winter provides another opportunity to look again at the links between the many fascinating outdoor pastimes and pursuits...

    Elizabeth Jane Timms5th Dec 2018
  • A Brief History of Frogmore Cottage

    With the announcement that Frogmore Cottage will become the residence of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex at Windsor, it is...

    Elizabeth Jane Timms4th Dec 2018
Royal Central is the web's most popular source for the latest news and information on the British Royal Family and the Monarchies of Europe.

Subscribe via Email

To receive the latest Royal Central posts straight to your email inbox, enter your email address below and press subscribe.

Join 38,103 other subscribers.

Copyright © 2018 Royal Central, all rights reserved.