27th May 2023 – (Washington) Recently released FBI files have uncovered a potential assassination plot against Queen Elizabeth II during her 1983 visit to California. The threat followed a phone call made by a man claiming that his daughter had been killed in Northern Ireland by a rubber bullet. The documents also refer to a bar that was frequented by Irish Republican Army (IRA) sympathisers. The plan was to drop an object off the Golden Gate Bridge onto the royal yacht Britannia as it sailed underneath or to kill Queen Elizabeth when she visited Yosemite National Park.
The queen and her husband Prince Philip visited the west coast of the United States in February and March 1983, and the trip passed off without incident. Four years earlier, in 1979, IRA paramilitaries opposed to British rule in Northern Ireland killed Louis Mountbatten, the last colonial governor of India and an uncle of Philip, in a bomb attack.
A separate file among the documents, dated 1989, pointed out that while the FBI was unaware of any specific threats against the queen, “the possibility of threats against the British monarchy is ever present from the Irish Republican Army.”
The queen, who died last September aged 96, has previously been reported to have been the target of other assassination plots. In 1970, suspected IRA sympathisers unsuccessfully attempted to derail her train west of Sydney, while in 1981 the IRA tried to bomb her on avisit to Shetland, off the northeast coast of Scotland. During the same year, a mentally disturbed teenager fired a single shot towards the queen’s car as she toured the South Island city of Dunedin in New Zealand. In London, another teenager fired six blanks at her during the Trooping the Colour birthday parade. The following year, Michael Fagan managed to break into Buckingham Palace, wander into the queen’s bedroom and have a conversation with her before being lured away by a palace staffer.
These incidents showcase the risks and challenges involved in protecting a monarch with such a high profile. Despite the danger, Queen Elizabeth II has continued to fulfill her duties and maintain an active schedule, even in her later years. Her reign has been marked by significant changes in the world and in British society, including the end of the British Empire and the rise of multiculturalism. Throughout it all, the queen has remained a symbol of stability and continuity, representing the best of British traditions and values.
The potential assassination plot during her 1983 visit to California serves as a stark reminder of the dangers faced by the queen and other prominent public figures. It also highlights the invaluable work of security agencies in ensuring their safety. The FBI documents provide a glimpse into the complex and ever-evolving landscape of threats and risks faced by the British monarchy, and the importance of vigilance and preparedness in preventing potential attacks.