The Person Who Shot Queen Elizabeth II

Andrei Tapalaga
Marcus Sarjeant attempting to fire a blank at Queen Elizebeth in 1981Rare Historical Photos

With the occasion of her majesty passing away, we need to appreciate the 75 years of service and the dangers she faced as the Queen of England. You would think that such a celebrity would want to be harmed by many people, but actually, during her reign, there were only 3 attempts of assassination, one of which could not even be counted as an attempt.

The last attempt, if you can call it that was by a 17-year-old boy who only wanted to become famous in the most stupid way, by shooting a real gun that was chambered with blanks at the Queen whilst she was marching. On 13 June 1981, Marcus Sarjeant joined the crowds for Trooping the Colour, finding a spot near the junction between The Mall and Horseguards Avenue. When the Queen came past riding her 19-year-old horse Burmese, Sarjeant quickly fired six blanks from his starting revolver.

All of this happened during the Trooping the colors parade where over 1400 parading soldiers, 200 horses, and 400 musicians come together each June in a great display of military precision, horsemanship, and fanfare to mark the Queen’s official birthday. When the queen was younger she would also participate in the event.

Everyone turned to look at Queen Elizabeth, who was still standing, after hearing the gunfire, but her horse had become frightened. The gunman was already hiding his hands behind his head after firing the rounds, so when the Royal guards ran through the mob to find him, they had no trouble identifying him.

The police found that Sarjeant had written “I am going to stun and mystify the world. I will become the most famous teenager in the world.” Investigations by psychiatrists found that Sarjeant did not have any mental abnormalities.

Just imagine if instead of blanks, those were real bullets without the boy realizing this fact. There are many accidents that occur by people who are not trained with firearms and who confuse real bullets with blanks. Sarjeant was sentenced to three years of prison. Whilst in prison he wrote a letter to the Queen, trying to explain himself and his stupidity, but the Queen never responded.

At the age of 20, Sarjeant was released from prison in October 1984 after serving three years. He adopted a new identity, started a brand-new life, and vanished into history.

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