Plot to kill the Queen with ‘object’ dropped onto Royal Yacht from iconic bridge

The late Queen Elizabeth II was the target of a failed assassination plot during a 1983 visit to the United States, FBI files show.

Freedom of Information (FOI) requests submitted after the Queen's death, show a murderous plot was foiled shortly before Her Majesty was due to arrive in San Francisco after a police officer raised the alarm.

The plan reportedly involved planned to drop "an object" from the Golden Gate Bridge just as the Royal Yacht Britannia sailed underneath.

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But a police officer who regularly drank at an Irish pub became aware of the scheme and tipped off investigators about an IRA sympathiser "who claimed that his daughter had been killed in Northern Ireland by a rubber bullet", and was hell-bent on getting his revenge.

The policeman first became aware of the plot in February 1983, about a month before the Queen, then 57, was due to pay a visit to the president at the time, Ronald Reagan, and First Lady Nancy Reagan, in California.

The tip-off stated: "This man additionally claimed that he was going to attempt to harm Queen Elizabeth and would do this either by dropping some object off the Golden Gate Bridge onto the Royal Yacht Britannia when it sails underneath, or would attempt to kill Queen Elizabeth when she visited Yosemite National Park."

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The files, more than 100 pages in length, added the man in question had been involved in police enquiries in the past.

During these interactions he was described as "generally cooperative, although he makes no secret of his sympathies for the IRA" [sic].

FBI agents also reportedly warned ahead of Her Majesty's Stateside visit: "It will be very hard to anticipate and prevent incidents which may embarrass either the Queen or the president."

This wasn't the only time the Queen faced threats on her life such as this – in fact the documents stated authorities were forced to repeatedly brace for threats from IRA supporters against Her Majesty.

Just two years before this attack, the FBI warned of a "potential attack" when the monarch visited a number of US cities with strong Irish links.

And a later document in 1989 stated: "The possibility of threats against the British monarchy is ever present from the Irish Republican Army.

"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."

The Queen wasn't the only member of the Royal Family to face threats of this kind.

In 1979 Her Majesty's second cousin Lord Mountbatten and three others were killed in an IRA bombing of his fishing vessel.

The other victims were Mountbatten's grandson Nicholas Knatchbull, Paul Maxwell, a member of the crew, and Nicholas' paternal grandmother Doreen, Dowager Lady Brabourne.

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