Queen Elizabeth II and death threats during US trips


The Threats to the Sovereign

At the time when a man intruded into Buckingham Palace and managed to reach Queen Elizabeth’s rooms, much was said, but less known are the death threats received by the sovereign during her long reign of seventy years. The most striking case, at least so far, was made known by the FBI, which on The Vault website, a real online library containing many files, published a 103-page document regarding the preparations for the trip that the sovereign made with her husband Philip to the United States in 1983. A month before the visit, a man threatened the sovereign, apparently a revenge for the death of his daughter in Northern Ireland. The man in question, whose name is not given, was apparently intending to hurt the queen during the passage of her yacht, Britannia, under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, or during the visit to Yosemite National Park.

Security Around the Queen

The document reveals the precautions taken, above all the closure of the bridge during the passage of the Britannia, while it says nothing about any measures taken in Yosemite. They were difficult times, when threats to the Royal House from the Irishman were not just on paper, just think of the murder of Louis Mountbatten, the queen’s cousin and mentor of the then young Prince Charles, assassinated in 1979 by the IRA, the Irish Republican Army. From this and other documents published on The Vault, it is evident that security around Elizabeth II has always been at its highest during her trips to the United States, whether state visits or more private ones, such as the one she made to Kentucky in 1989. In 1991, however, the protests became public, involving some events that the sovereign was to attend and which she eventually had to avoid for security reasons.

The Queen’s Protection

Elizabeth II, however, does not seem to have ever been really in danger, probably because not even a capillary and efficient organization like the IRA could have done so much, despite having the means and possibilities. The queen, after all, was the most protected person on the planet, just think of the measures taken during the Covid-19 pandemic, when for her and her husband a sort of “bubble” was created, even impassable for their children. Next to the couple, very few and trusted people, in their buen retiro in Windsor, among their favorite places, until the end.


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