The FBI disclosed possible threats during Queen Elizabeth II’s 1983 visit to the United States. The documents were released this week on the FBI’s records website. Elizabeth Died last September After a reign of 70 years.
Queen’s West Coast Tour with Husband, Prince PhilipMarch 1983 included a stop in San Francisco. CBS San Francisco reported The document appears to detail a tip San Francisco police received about a phone call about a month before that visit from “a man who claimed his daughter had been killed by a rubber bullet in Northern Ireland.”
Four years earlier in 1979, IRA paramilitaries opposed to British rule in Northern Ireland killed Louis Mountbatten, India’s last colonial governor and Philip’s uncle, in a bomb attack.
According to the document, the man said he was going to “try to harm Queen Elizabeth” either by throwing an object from the Golden Gate Bridge onto the queen’s royal yacht or by trying to kill her while visiting Yosemite National Park. The Secret Service sought to close the bridge’s walkways as the yacht approached, the document said.
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The phone call that a San Francisco police officer received and the caller’s name was redacted on the record, which did not indicate whether a precaution was taken in Yosemite or if any arrests were made. On March 7, 1983, a memo indicated that the Queen had completed her US tour “without incident” and that “no further investigation is required.”
A separate file of documents, dated 1989, indicated that while the FBI was not aware of any specific threats against the Queen, “the possibility of threats against the British monarchy from the Irish Republican Army has always existed.”
In 1970, suspected IRA sympathizers tried unsuccessfully to derail Elizabeth’s train west of Sydney, while in 1981 the IRA tried to bomb her on her way to Shetland, on the northeast coast of Scotland.
The same year, a mentally disturbed teenager fired a single shot at the Queen’s car during a visit to New Zealand. Christopher Lewis opened fire while visiting the South Island city of Dunedin.
The dirty attempt was covered up by police at the time and only came to light in 2018 when New Zealand’s Security Intelligence Service spy agency released the documents following a media request.
Also in 1981, another teenager shot Elizabeth six times during the King’s Trooping the Color birthday parade in central London.
The queen quickly calmed her startled horse and continued as the teenager told the soldiers who disarmed him that he “wanted to be famous”.
The following year, in one of the most famous security breaches of her reign, Michael Fagan managed to enter the Queen’s bedroom and spoke to her for 10 minutes before raising the alarm.
The baker decorator climbs a drainpipe to gain access to the Queen’s London residence after scaling the walls of Buckingham Palace after a few drinks.
He wandered into his bedroom and sat on the end of the bed to chat with the bewildered king before a palace servant lured him in with the promise of a shot of whiskey.
The FBI documents detail other security concerns surrounding the Queen’s visits to various US cities. When he attended a Baltimore Orioles game with President George HW Bush in May 1991, dozens of protesters in the park chanted slogans condemning Britain’s policies in Northern Ireland.
On September 8, 2022, after more than 70 years on the British throne, Elizabeth died at Balmoral Castle, her official residence in Scotland. He was 96.
Agence France-Presse contributed to this report.