Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pop History Moment: Princess Anne Foils Own Kidnapping

On this day in 1974 Princess Anne and her new husband Captain Mark Phillips escaped an attempted kidnapping unharmed while returning to Buckingham Palace from a charity film screening; it remains the only attempted royal abduction in modern times, and resulted in increased security around the royals.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketIn all, four people were hurt in the attack, which took place in The Mall; the Princess' Personal Protection Officer Inspector James Beaton was most seriously injured, having been shot in the head and chest. He'd been the first to respond when the royal car was forced to stop by a light-coloured Ford Escort. The driver of the limousine and long-time member of the royal household, Alex Callender, was also shot early in the attack.

A journalist named Brian McConnell happened upon the scene and he too was shot, which is when the assailant, a mentally unstable man named Ian Ball ordered Her Royal Highness out of the car. 'Not bloody likely!' she is said to have exclaimed as she dove out of the opposite side; she was then escorted from the scene by another passerby named Ron Russell, but only after he'd punched Ball in the back of the head. One police officer named Michael Hills attempted to arrest the assailant, but was shot; as Ball tried to flee the scene another officer, Peter Edmonds, gave chase and managed to capture him without incident. The Princess' Lady-in-Waiting Rowena Brassey was also present; history does not record any action or reaction on the part of Mark Phillips.

Beaton was awarded the George Cross for his heroism; Alex Callender, Brian McConnell, Ron Russell, PC Michael Hills, and DC Peter Edmonds were all awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal. Ian Ball was sent to Broadmoor Hospital, where he remains to this day, maintaining his innocence via his own website, despite the fact that a note demanding £3 million in ransom was found in his car. In 2006 Granada Television produced a docu-drama entitled To Kidnap a Princess - directed by John Alexander - which related the events of this incident.
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1 comment:

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

holy shit!...I don't remember that at all..