According to recently made public Federal Bureau of Investigation records, Queen Elizabeth II of Britain faced a possible assassination threat forty years ago, ahead of a visit to the United States.
On Tuesday, 103 pages were added to the FBI’s online repository, The Vault. The documents detail the planning for many journeys the late Queen took to the US, including a state visit to the West Coast in 1983 with her husband, Prince Philip.
According to one document, San Francisco police received a tip about a month prior to that visit about a phone conversation from “a man who claimed that his daughter had been killed in Northern Ireland by a rubber bullet.”
It continues: “This man additionally claimed that he was going to attempt to harm Queen Elizabeth and would do this either by dropping some object off the Golden Gate Bridge onto the Royal Yacht Britannia when it sails underneath or would attempt to kill Queen Elizabeth when she visited Yosemite National Park.”
The same document notes that “it is the intention of the Secret Service to close the walkways on the Golden Gate Bridge when the yacht nears.” There’s no mention of any precautions that may have been taken at the national park nor do the files reveal whether any arrests were made.
The tweet below confirms the news:
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II faced a potential assassination threat 40 years ago, ahead of a trip to the United States, according to newly released documents from the FBI https://t.co/BWQuwUfj4t
— CNN (@CNN) May 26, 2023
FBI Concerned About IRA Threats to Queen Elizabeth II
The records show the FBI’s heightened awareness of potential threats to the British monarch while she is in residence, its cooperation with the US Secret Service, and its worries about the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and its supporters during royal visits.
The Provisional IRA used a bomb hidden in Louis Mountbatten’s fishing boat to assassinate the Queen’s cousin in 1979. In the same blast, three other people also perished, including two kids. The Troubles in Northern Ireland occurred throughout several of the Queen’s journeys to the US, and the documents show that the FBI was closely watching as it prepared for royal visits over the years.
While the FBI was not aware of any specific threats against the Queen prior to a private visit to Kentucky in 1989, one document states that “the possibility of threats against the British monarchy is everpresent from the Irish Republican Army (IRA).”
Other documents in the files express concern about Irish groups planning protests at several scheduled events, including a baseball game the monarch was expected to attend and a White House function. This memo was written in 1991 in preparation for the Queen’s state visit.
The page quoted from an article that appeared in the Irish Edition newspaper published in Philadelphia, which stated that “the article stated anti-British feelings are running high as a result of the well-publicized injustices inflicted on the Birmingham Six by the corrupt English judicial system and the recent rash of brutal murders of unarmed Irish nationalists in the six counties by loyalist death squads.”
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Although the President or the Queen were not threatened in the piece, it continued, “the words could be construed as being offensive. According to the publication, a sizable block of grandstand tickets had been reserved by an Irish organization.
Another paper in the dossier, dated July 1976, described a time the Queen returned across the Atlantic to support the bicentennial festivities of the United States, including stops in Philadelphia, Washington, and New York.
A summons was issued to a pilot on that trip, according to FBI papers, for flying a small two-seater plane above Battery Park while holding a sign that read “England, Get out of Ireland.”
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