A global shockwave was felt on Thursday, September 8, 2022, when Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Ruling for 70 years, the Queen was Britain’s longest-serving monarch in history and died of natural causes at 96.

Hundreds of people gathered outside Buckingham Palace in London after Queen Elizabeth II’s death was announced, many of whom carried flowers. The British monarch made regular public appearances during her life and was one of the most travelled heads of state in the world. However, she faced assassination attempts many times in her life, all of which were stopped. Let’s take a look at some of these assassination attempts and how the Queen escaped them.

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Australia, 1970

Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, were visiting Australia, a commonwealth nation, in 1970. An assassination attempt was made on the Queen’s life during this tour.

The Queen and the Prince were set to travel to Orange, New South Wales, by rail from Sydney on April 29. Assassins who had sinister motives, put a log on the rail track, intending to derail the train near Lithgow. Another train had inspected the track an hour before the Queen’s train passed but found nothing, which fuelled suspicions of an assassination attempt. 

The train that the Queen was travelling in, hit the log, but was travelling slowly, for which nothing happened. Australian authorities failed to find out who was the culprit afterwards, and did not arrest anyone. The incident was revealed in 2009 when a Detective Superintendent spoke about it, claiming the government had covered up the incident.

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London, 1981

The Queen escaped another attempt on her life on June 13, 1981, at an event in London. The Queen made an appearance there on horseback and a teenager named Marcus Sarjeant, shot six blanks from a starting pistol when she neared him. Burmese, the Queen’s horse, became startled but she calmed him down and left the area.

The 17-year-old was arrested later and was presented in a trial. He revealed that he wanted to become famous and was inspired by the assassination of famous singer John Lennon in the previous year. He was found guilty of Treason and was handed a five years prison sentence.

New Zealand, 1981

A few months after the assassination attempt in London, Queen Elizabeth II faced another attempt on her life in New Zealand during a visit. She was visiting a museum in Dunedin, a city on the country’s South Island.

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The attempt on the Queen’s life was made by Christopher John Lewis, another teenager. He waited for the Queen in a building near the museum and fired from a window when the Queen was exiting her vehicle. The 17-year-old missed the Queen.

Lewis was arrested by the police after eight days and was handed a three-year prison sentence, part of which was in a psychiatric hospital.