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Princess Anne and Family

The Queen paid off man’s mortgage after he saved Princess Anne’s life


PHOTO: JAMES BROOKES

The Queen paid off a man’s mortgage after he helped save Princess Anne’s life in a kidnapping attempt 46 years ago.

Speaking for the first time, Ronnie Russell, now 72-years-old, tackled gunman Ian Ball after he shot four people and held the Princess Royal at gunpoint.

In an interview with the Daily Mirror, Mr Russell revealed that Her Majesty paid off the former heavyweight boxer’s mortgage to show her gratitude.

In addition to being awarded the George Medal for bravery, the monarch paid for his house “as a gift.”

A royal source told the Mirror: “This would have been a deeply private matter and certainly no publicity would have been sought from the Palace or the Queen.”

Another source said: “Any such instance of generosity would have been made from the Queen’s private funds.”

When being awarded his medal, Her Majesty told Mr Russell: “The medal is from the Queen, but I want to thank you as Anne’s mother.”

Mr Russell says he is now selling his George Medal due to ill health, and to pay for funeral costs.

He said: “It was something I said I would never, ever do.

“What I would like is whoever does eventually buy the medal, I would hope they might invite me somewhere to tell them about what happened on the night.”

The George Medal is expected to go under the hammer for around £15,000 and £20,000 at auction next month.

Mr Russell punched gunman Ian Ball in the head during the kidnapping attempt in London in 1974.

The boxer saw Princess Anne’s car at a standstill in The Mall, with Ball firing gunshots and injuring four people.

Mr Russell said he saw Ball trying to drag Princess Anne from her car, while her then-husband, Captain Mark Phillips, was desperately trying to pull her back in.

“She was very, very together, telling him: ‘Just go away and don’t be such a silly man’.”

“He stood there glaring at me with the gun and I hit him. I hit him as hard as I could and he was flat on the floor face down.”

Ian Ball pleaded guilty to attempted murder and kidnapping and to this day is detained under the Mental Health Act at Broadmoor Hospital.