Queen Elizabeth II and Ronald Reagan at a San Francisco banquet in 1983 (GETTY IMAGES)
Newly Released FBI Files Uncover 1983 Assassination Plot Against Queen Elizabeth II during US Visit
Following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II last year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has made public a collection of documents concerning the late monarch’s trips to the United States. These files shed light on the FBI’s concerns regarding IRA threats and their role in ensuring the Queen’s safety during her visits.
One particular revelation from the released documents is a potential assassination threat that emerged during the Queen’s 1983 visit to California. The threat was brought to the attention of federal agents by a police officer in San Francisco who frequented an Irish pub. The officer reported a conversation with a man he had encountered at the establishment, where the man expressed a desire for revenge over his daughter’s death in Northern Ireland, allegedly caused by a rubber bullet.
GETTY IMAGES: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip spoke with National Park rangers during the visit to Yosemite
According to the files, the threat was made on February 4, 1983, approximately a month prior to Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s scheduled visit. The document states that the individual planned to harm the Queen either by dropping an object from the Golden Gate Bridge onto the Royal Yacht Britannia as it passed underneath or by attempting to kill her during her visit to Yosemite National Park.
In response to this threat, the Secret Service devised a plan to close the walkways on the Golden Gate Bridge as the yacht approached, though it remains unclear what specific measures were taken at Yosemite. Nevertheless, the visit proceeded as scheduled, and the FBI did not disclose any details regarding arrests related to the plot.
The cache of documents, totaling 102 pages, was uploaded to the FBI’s information website known as the Vault on Monday, following a Freedom of Information Act request made by several US media outlets. These files provide insight into various state visits made by the late Queen to the United States, including her 1983 trip to the West Coast, which took place amid heightened tensions during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
The documents also highlight the FBI’s ongoing vigilance concerning perceived threats against the late Queen. Notably, they reference an incident in 1976 during America’s Bicentennial celebrations in New York City, where a pilot flew a small plane over Battery Park carrying a sign that read “England, Get out of Ireland.”
These revelations serve as a reminder of the genuine risks and challenges faced by the late Queen during her visits to the US, particularly in the backdrop of her second cousin Lord Mountbatten’s tragic death in 1979 due to an IRA bombing off the coast of County Sligo, Republic of Ireland.
Ahead of a personal visit by the late Queen to Kentucky in 1989, an internal FBI memo read “the possibility of threats against the British Monarchy is ever-present from the Irish Republican Army (IRA)”.
It continued that “Boston and New York are requested to remain alert for any threats against Queen Elizabeth II on the part of IRA members and immediately furnish same to Louisville,” in Kentucky.
The late Queen, who owned racehorses, is known to have visited Kentucky several times during her life to enjoy the state’s equestrian highlights, including the Kentucky Derby.On a state visit in 1991, the late Queen was scheduled to see a Baltimore Orioles baseball game with President George H Bush.
The FBI warned the Secret Service that “Irish groups” were planning protests at the stadium and “an Irish group had reserved a large block of grandstand tickets” to the game.The bureau told NBC News there might be “additional records” that exist besides the ones released this week, but it did not set out a timetable for their publication.