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On This Day… The Teenager Who Fired A Gun At The Queen

Written by: George Chittenden : 21 Jul 2019

It was on this day, 13th June back in 1981 when a 17-year-old pulled a gun and fired six shots at the Queen during the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony in London. The bullets were blanks and the gun was a replica, so thankfully the Queen survived the incident, and Marcus Sarjeant became the last person to date to be convicted under the Treason Act of 1842. So why did he do it? The sad truth is that some people want their five minutes of fame, regardless of the consequences. The former cadet said “I wanted to be famous. I wanted to be a somebody.”

The incident happened whilst Queen Elizabeth II was riding her horse Burmese. She had left Buckingham Palace fifteen minutes earlier and was turning from The Mall into Horse Guards Road when the shots were fired. Marcus Sarjeant was swiftly brought down by two Guardsmen, a police officer and a St John’s Ambulance volunteer. The Queen was shocked by the shots, but quickly regained her composure and brought the horse under control. She even continued her route as her ceremonial escort surrounded her and completed the ceremony on Horse Guards Parade. Marcus Sarjeant was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment and was released after serving three years at Grendon Psychiatric Prison in Buckinghamshire.

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