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The Kents

How Queen Elizabeth II discretely protected the Duke Of Kent from kidnapping attempt

Queen Elizabeth II personally intervened to ensure the safety of her cousin, the Duke of Kent, after information came to light that the IRA was planning to kidnap him.

The Duke had been posted to Northern Ireland with the Royal Scots Greys in 1971. However, the former Northern Irish Prime Minister, Terence O’Neill, had information that the IRA planned to kidnap the Duke if he entered Belfast. He shared the details with The Queen’s private secretary. And it was the Monarch herself who told the then UK Prime Minister, Edward Heath, at one of their regular audiences.

Soon afterwards, ministers told commanding officers not to send the Duke of Kent to Belfast without special orders. The Duke’s time in Northern Ireland came to an end soon afterwards when he returned to Edinburgh.

The revelation came about in a book published in 2022 by Robert Hardman who discovered previously unseen correspondence in the National Archives.

While writing ”Queen of Our Times: The Life of Elizabeth II”, Hardman came across a letter from a Ministry of Defence official noting ”The Queen’s wish that the Duke should not be sent into Belfast has been carefully noted.”

Hardman discusses the reason for the intervention, telling the Daily Telegraph that ”She would have been more concerned that the Duke of Kent’s presence was a danger to his men.”

The Duke of Kent also touches on his time in Northern Ireland in his forthcoming memoirs, ‘A Royal Life’, written alongside Hugo Vickers.

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