Princess Anne, the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, was about to be abducted in 1974. During the incident, she was with her then-husband, Mark Phillips, a captain in the British Army.
On March 20, 1974, around 8 PM, the princess’s Austin Limo was traveling towards Buckingham Palace when a White Ford blocked it. The person sitting inside the White Ford was Ian Ball, a common man, who was there to kidnap the princess.
Inside the car, there were five people - Princess Anne and her husband, Rowena Jane Brassey (lady- in- waiting), Alex Callendar (a royal chauffeur), and Police Inspector James Beaton (a member of S014, the Royalty Protection Command).
Unlike today, back then, the royal family had very few protection officers as there wasn’t much threat to them. So Princess Anne had only Beaton to protect her.
Ball, who was prepared for a fight, had two handguns with him, whereas Beaton had a semi-automatic Walther PPK. As soon as Beaton got out of the car, Ball used his gun to wound him in the shoulder. Although Ball approached the car and pulled the door, Beaton got in between the door and Ball. So Ball shot Beaton the second time. Ball also used his gun to wound the driver, Callendar, when he came out.
A passing driver, Glenmore Martin, came to distract the kidnapper but Ball pointed the gun at him. Journalist John Brian McConnell, who tried interfering with the kidnapping, was also wounded with Ball’s gun.
Princess Anne took this opportunity and somersaulted outside the car. Ball tried to reach Anne but she jumped back into the car and closed both the doors. By then, Russell punched Ball again, which was enough to stop him.
Mr. Russel, who had helped save the princess, said that he wanted Ban to prevent making any more trouble and decided to stop him.
When the police checked, they found handcuffs, tranquilizers, and a ransom note demanding £2 million in Ball’s car (approximately over $2 million). They also got a note mentioning that Princess Anne would be shot dead.
After the incident, Ball was diagnosed with schizophrenia and has been in the hospital since then. All the courageous men involved in protecting Princess Anne from abduction were given great awards by the Queen.