It’s been a torrid few
weeks months years for the scandal-ridden Royal Family, and to top it all off, the Queen had to meet with Donald Trump again this week as Buckingham Palace hosted the world’s leaders as part of the NATO summit.
That’s the same Buckingham Palace where Justin Trudeau, Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron and a few others were caught gossiping about Trump.
During that event, it appeared as though Princess Anne had blown off meeting the US president, with this video widely shared:
Princess Anne didn’t greet Donald Trump and Melania Trump
The Queen chastised her
Princess Anne just shrugged pic.twitter.com/YIZzMt7Sag
— Edward Hardy (@EdwardTHardy) December 4, 2019
That wasn’t actually the case, according to official statements, because she wasn’t part of the greeting party, but it did cause some renewed international interest in Anne, coinciding nicely with her increased visibility in the third season of The Crown.
As the Daily Beast points out, Anne has quite a story to tell:
Anne has had plenty of drama in her time. In The Crown we see her have a clearly very enjoyable bit of nookie with Andrew Parker Bowles, who went on to be Camilla’s first husband. If that is true, Anne had sex with her sister-in-law’s husband long before they were sisters-in-law.
However, The Crown missed the opportunity to show one of the most dramatic royal moments of the 1970s: Anne’s attempted kidnapping one night in 1974 on The Mall in London, near Buckingham Palace, by a man called Ian Ball.
If you want to kidnap a royal, it takes Balls. I get the feeling that if Prince Andrew was kidnapped right now, he wouldn’t command much of a ransom, but let’s stop being silly and deal with the kidnapping.
Here are the basics:
Ball told her he intended to kidnap her and hold her for ransom. He asked her to get out of her car (having shot and wounded four men, including her personal police officer, who were trying to protect her). “Not bloody likely,” was Anne’s alleged reply.
“It was all so infuriating; I kept saying I didn’t want to get out of the car, and I was not going to get out of the car,” she later told officers. “I nearly lost my temper with him, but I knew that if I did, I should hit him and he would shoot me.”
I’m going to digress briefly and give you another reason you should appreciate this woman:
As for selfies: “People don’t believe they’ve experienced the event unless they’ve taken a photograph,” Anne said. “I either don’t bother or just say, ‘I suggest you put that down.’”
That above is just the briefest of overviews, so here’s a more in-depth look at the attempted kidnapping via NewsAU:
Princess Anne and her then-husband Mark Phillips, a captain in the British army, were on their way home from a charity film screening when a white Ford Escort overtook their chauffeur on the mall, forcing him to stop about 200 yards away from Buckingham Palace.
A bearded man with light red hair jumped out of the Ford with two guns in hand and charged toward the rear of the royal limo.
Anne’s bodyguard, Inspector James Beaton, stepped out to meet the man, assuming he was a disgruntled driver – only to be shot in the shoulder, and then twice more during the altercation.
Six more men faced off against Ball. Chauffeur Alexander Callender, one of the Queen’s drivers, stepped out to confront the gunman and was shot in the chest.
Police constable Michael Hills [above with Anne in hospital, following the shooting], on patrol nearby when he heard the sounds of a struggle, was first on the scene. He approached Ball who shot him in the stomach. Before collapsing, Hills maintained enough strength to radio his station.
A former boxer, Ronald Russell, happened to be passing by on his way home from work, and approached Ball. At the same time, a Daily Mail reporter on the scene also tried to intervene, and was shot by Ball.
Anne herself then stepped up the plate:
“Please, come out,” said Ball to Anne, grabbing her by the forearm as Phillip held onto her waist. “You’ve got to come.”
As the two men struggled over the Princess, her dress ripped, splitting down her back.
Instead of panicking, she had what she later called “a very irritating conversation” with her potential kidnapper.
“We had a sort of discussion about where or where not we were going to go,” Princess Anne said, recalling her exchange with Ball in an interview with Michael Parkinson in the 1980s.
Here’s the royal describing the incident during that interview with Parkinson:
Finally, as more officers descended on the scene, Ball fled, and was chased through nearby St James Park, where temporary detective constable Peter Edmonds tackled him to the ground.
According to a ransom note from Ball, he had been planning the attack for more than two years. He had intended to ask for a ransom of £3 million, which he would give the money to the NHS to treat and care for psychiatric patients.
When he was searched following the attempted kidnapping, police found all of the below on his person, except for the diary in the centre:
Ball pleaded guilty to attempted murder and kidnapping charges, and was sentenced to a life term in a mental health facility.
Can you believe The Crown chose to leave all of this out?
You can read more on Anne’s attempted kidnapping here.
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