The documents indicate FBI concerns about the safety of Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip during their 1983 visit, fearing threats from Irish Republican Army (IRA) activists. True, the contents of the declassified documents indicate a threat that could have been created by individual persons rather than an organized conspiracy.
For example, on February 4, 1983, the FBI received information from a police officer in San Francisco that a man in a local Irish bar had promised to kill the royal couple, who were scheduled to arrive in California a month later to meet with then US President Ronald Reagan. The man justified his intention with the desire to take revenge for his daughter “who was shot with a rubber bullet in Northern Ireland”. “He intended to harm Queen Elizabeth II by either dropping something from the Golden Bridge onto the royal yacht Britannia while it was sailing under the bridge, or by attempting to kill Queen Elizabeth while she was visiting Yosemite National Park,” the document said.
In response to this threat, the US Secret Service decided to close San Francisco’s Golden Bridge to pedestrians during the sailing of the royal yacht. The leaked documents do not mention security measures at Yosemite National Park, but the Queen is known to have visited there. The document also does not say whether that threat was arrested.
This was not the only time FBI agents reported a potential threat to the British queen. In 1989, before the Queen’s visit to the eastern United States, the FBI warned of the possibility of an attack in cities with large Irish immigrant populations. “There is a constant possibility of a threat to the British monarch from the Irish Republican Army,” an FBI document said. Boston and New York, on the other hand, were instructed to remain alert for any threats to Queen Elizabeth II by members of the IRA and to report immediately to Kentucky, where the Queen was scheduled to make a private visit. Elizabeth II was a big fan of horse racing and attended the appropriate events in Kentucky on several occasions, including the famous ‘Kentucky Derby’.
US law enforcement officials’ concerns about the safety of the royal couple were justified, as there are many Irish immigrants living in the US, but in 1979, IRA fighters killed Prince Philip’s uncle, Lord Mountbatten, the last viceroy of India, by blowing up his yacht.
The inter-ethnic and political conflict in Northern Ireland lasted from the 1960s until the conclusion of the Good Friday Agreement on April 10, 1998. The IRA was the main force of Irish Catholics fighting against British forces and local Protestants who wanted to keep the region under the United Kingdom.
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