FBI file reveals 1983 plot to kill Queen Elizabeth II while visiting Yosemite National Park

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II faced a potential assassination threat 40 years ago before a trip to the United States, according to newly released documents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

A 103-page cache was released Tuesday on the FBI’s online archive site, The Vault. The files cover preparations for several trips the late Queen made to the United States, including an official West Coast tour with her husband, Prince Philip, in 1983.

A document appears to detail information gathered about a month before this San Francisco police visit regarding a phone call from “a man who claimed his daughter was killed in Northern Ireland by a rubber bullet.”

He continues: “This man also claimed he was going to attempt to harm Queen Elizabeth and would either do so by dropping an object from the Golden Gate Bridge onto the Royal Yacht Britannia as it sails below or by attempting to kill Queen Elizabeth when she visited Yosemite National Park.”

The same document notes that “the Secret Service intends to close the Golden Gate Bridge walkways as the yacht approaches.” no arrests were made.

The files illustrate the FBI’s hypervigilance over possible threats to the visiting British monarch, collaboration with the US secret service and concerns about the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and its sympathizers during royal visits.

The Queen’s cousin, Louis Mountbatten, was murdered by the Provisional IRA in 1979, using a bomb planted in his fishing boat. Three other people died in the same explosion, including two children. Many of the Queen’s trips to the United States took place amid the unrest in Northern Ireland and the documents reveal the FBI had been closely monitoring preparations for royal visits over the years.

Prior to a private visit to Kentucky in 1989, a document notes that while the FBI was unaware of any specific threats against the Queen, “the possibility of threats against the British monarchy is ever-present from the Irish Republican Army (IRA)”.

Elsewhere in the records, a document preparing for the Queen’s 1991 state visit raises concerns about Irish groups staging protests at several scheduled engagements, including a baseball game the monarch was due to attend and an event at the White House. Citing information printed in a Philadelphia Irish newspaper titled Irish Edition, the page read: “The article states that anti-British sentiments are

on the rise due to the well-publicized injustices inflicted on the Birmingham Six by the corrupt English justice system and the recent spate of brutal murders of unarmed Irish Nationalists across the Six Counties by loyalist death squads.

He added: “Although the article contains no threats against the President or the Queen, the statements could be considered inflammatory. The article indicated that an Irish group had booked a large number of grandstand tickets. “

Another document in the file, dated July 1976, mentions an occasion when the Queen crossed the Atlantic to help mark America’s Bicentennial celebrations, with stops in Philadelphia, Washington and New York.

During this trip, according to FBI documents, a summons was issued to a pilot for flying a small two-seater plane over Battery Park, carrying a sign reading “England Get Out of Ireland”.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The video above includes footage from the Queen’s visit to Yosemite National Park in 1983.


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