December 2, 2023

The 70s 80s 90s Blog

Three Decades of History with TV historian Tony McMahon

The Queen shot at in 1981

2 min read
queen shot

An incident you may have forgotten or been unaware of – but back in 1981, Her Majesty The Queen was shot at several times during the annual Trooping Of The Colour. 

In those days, the Queen rode side saddle down the Mall from Buckingham Palace to Horse Guards Parade and that’s when an unemployed military cadet spotted his chance. Marcus Sarjeant had been an air cadet and patrol leader in the Boy Scouts.┬áIt seems he wanted a military career but couldn’t will the means to make it happen. So, he did join the Marines but quit after a few months and then attended an Army induction course but walked out after a couple of days.

It was reported that after failing to get into the police, Sarjeant became involved in an anti-monarchist group. It is a classic progression from grievance that creates a cognitive opening for radical messaging and then what seems like the logical next step. Sarjeant took his pistol and went down to the Mall on the 13th June. He did apparently send a letter to Buckingham Palace warning the Queen that she was going to be shot at but it only arrived days after the event.

He shot at the Queen on that fateful day in 1981 but his assassination attempt was unsuccessful. A Scots Guard who wrestled Marcus to the ground later told journalists that he’d considered bayoneting Marcus! 

Sarjeant served his sentence in a psychiatric institution and on release, began a new life with a new name.

The Daily Express reports
The Daily Express reports
The Queen carries on

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