Newly published documents from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation revealed a possible plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II. during her visit to California in 1983. The visit then passed without incident.
After the Queen’s death last September, the FBI released a collection of documents about her travels to the United States. The documents outline how the FBI, which helped ensure the monarch’s security during her visits, dealt with threats from the Irish Republican Army (IRA), which opposed British rule in Northern Ireland.
The document, summarized by the British BBC, shows that the assassination threat was revealed by a police officer who frequented an Irish pub in San Francisco. The officer alerted federal agents to a call from a man he met at the bar. He told him that he wanted revenge for his daughter, “who was killed by a rubber bullet in Northern Ireland”.
The man made the threat about a month before Queen Elizabeth II’s visit. and her prince consort Philip in California. “He is said to have attempted to harm Queen Elizabeth by throwing an object from the Golden Gate Bridge onto the royal yacht Britannia while it was passing below, or by attempting to kill Queen Elizabeth while she was visiting Yosemite National Park,” it says in the document.
In response to the threat, the Secret Service planned to close the crossings of the Golden Gate Bridge as the yacht approached. It is not clear what measures were taken at Yosemite Park, but the visit continued. The FBI has not released any details about the arrests.
Several assassination attempts
The queen, who died at the age of 96, was said to have been the target of other assassinations before. In 1970, suspected IRA sympathizers tried unsuccessfully to derail her train west of Sydney, and in 1981, the IRA attempted to bomb her while visiting Shetland, off the north-east coast of Scotland.
That same year, a mentally challenged teenager fired a shot at the Queen’s car during a visit to New Zealand. Another teenager fired six blank rounds in her direction during a parade in central London.