FBI reveals details of 1980s assassination threat against Queen Elizabeth II
The FBI detailed a threat to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II during a visit that she and her husband, Prince Philip, made to the United States in the 1980s in newly release documents.
The 102-page document from the FBI’s online records vault shows that a member of the San Francisco Police Department learned from a source that a man had made a phone call on Feb. 4, 1983, saying that his daughter had been killed by a rubber bullet in Northern Ireland, and he planned to try to harm the queen.
The man said he would plan to either drop an object off the Golden Gate Bridge on the royal yacht, Britannia, while it sailed underneath or try to kill her while she visited Yosemite National Park. The document does not state if any arrests were made related to the call.
Authorities had already planned to close the walkways leading to the bridge when the yacht approached.
It states that the source was a regular customer of San Francisco’s The Dovre Club, which was known as a “Republican bar” that sympathizers of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) often visited.
Queen Elizabeth’s visit in 1983 came during a three-decade conflict ongoing in Northern Ireland known as “The Troubles.”
The conflict saw intense emotions and protests that at times turned to violence over the country’s status. The Unionists wished for Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom, while Republicans and nationalists wanted the country to leave the U.K. and reunify Ireland.
The IRA often turned to violence to fight against British rule.
The conflict eventually ended in 1998 with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, but attempted and successful assassinations were not uncommon during this period in the area. Louis Mountbatten, an uncle of Prince Philip, was assassinated after members of the IRA placed a bomb on his boat in 1979.
The queen and prince visited then-President Ronald Reagan and then-first lady Nancy Reagan at their home, known as “Rancho del Cielo,” in Santa Barbara, Calif., according to the White House Historical Association. The president and first lady also hosted the royal couple for an official dinner at the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco.
The document also shows extensive security planning on the part of different law enforcement agencies for protests and potential threats during the queen’s visit in 1983 and others.
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