FBI Records Indicate Queen Elizabeth Was Nearly Assassinated During 1980s Visit To The US

For 70 years, Queen Elizabeth held one of the most high-profile jobs in the world. While her time in the spotlight was filled with glitz and glamour, it also put her in considerable danger. In 1970, Elizabeth and Prince Philip had a close call in Australia when their train encountered a log blocking the track. It was later determined that the log's placement was intentional, rather than accidental. 

A decade later, the 1980s were particularly difficult for the monarch, with multiple assassination attempts both at home and abroad. In 1981, Elizabeth was shot at during her annual birthday parade, Trooping the Colour. Fortunately, the blank cartridges didn't harm the queen. She had another near-miss when visiting New Zealand that same year. The 1980s were also fraught due to the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Although the Provisional Irish Republican Army's activities were centered in Northern Ireland, some of the conflict extended into England. The royal family was also involved when Lord Louis Mountbatten, Prince Philip's uncle and Elizabeth's distant cousin, was killed when I.R.A. bombs exploded on his boat in Ireland.

So as the queen and Prince Philip prepared to visit President Ronald Reagan in the U.S. in 1983, law enforcement were on the lookout for possible security risks. And, according to FBI documents just released via the Freedom of Information Act, a threat was made prior to Elizabeth's arrival, making them extra wary.

Queen Elizabeth was going to be targeted while on her yacht or in Yosemite National Park

On February 4, 1983, a police officer took a phone call from a man who described his plan to attack Queen Elizabeth. The threat occurred just weeks ahead of her February 27 arrival. The individual was seeking revenge for his daughter's death via a rubber bullet in Northern Ireland. "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 FBI document details on page 81 of the 102-page document. In response, the secret service would "close the walkways on the Golden Gate Bridge as the yacht nears."

Fortunately, the threat to Elizabeth's life didn't seem to extend beyond this one phone call, and the document doesn't describe any additional actions to be taken. However, it does touch on potential protests planned in conjunction with the royal visit. One possible plan includes having a soup line give away "free beer to illustrate the contrast with the elegance of the state dinner," which the FBI believed to add a "dangerous dimension" to the idea. While the Bureau anticipated the protests would be peaceful rather than violent, it ruefully admitted, "it will be very hard to anticipate and prevent incidents which may embarrass either the Queen or the president."