Princess Anne Kidnapping Attempt: 20th March 1974

Princess Anne

Kidnapping attempt 20th March 1974

As Princess Anne and Mark Phillips were returning to Buckingham Palace on 20 March 1974, from a charity event on Pall Mall, their Princess IV car was forced to stop on the Mall by a Ford Escort. The driver of the Escort, Ian Ball, jumped out and began firing a pistol. 

Balls car pulled up in front of Royal Limousine
Royal Crime Scene : News Photo

Inspector James Beaton, Anne’s personal police officer, responded by exiting the car in order to shield her and to attempt to disarm Ball. However, Beaton’s firearm, a Walther PPK, jammed, and he was shot by the assailant, as was Anne’s chauffeur, Alex Callender, when he tried to disarm Ball.

Inspector James Beaton,

Brian McConnell, a nearby tabloid journalist, also intervened, and was shot in the chest. Ball approached Anne’s car and told her that he intended to kidnap her and hold her for ransom, the sum given by varying sources as £2 million or £3 million, which he claimed he intended to give to the National Health Service. Ball told Anne to get out of the car, to which she replied: “Not bloody likely!”, and reportedly briefly considered hitting Ball.

Kidnap Attempt Journalist : News Photo
Princess Anne visiting journalist Brian McConnell at St George’s Hospital in London after he was shot in the chest while attempting to intervene during the attempt to kidnap the Princess in the Mall, 25th March 1974. (Photo by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Eventually, she exited the other side of the limousine as had her lady-in-waiting, Rowena Brassey. A passing pedestrian, a former boxer named Ron Russell, punched Ball in the back of the head and led Anne away from the scene. At that point, Police Constable Michael Hills happened upon the situation; he too was shot by Ball, but he had already called for police backup. Detective Constable Peter Edmonds, who had been nearby, answered, gave chase, and finally arrested Ball.

Beaton, Hills, Callender, and McConnell were hospitalised, and all recovered from their wounds. For his defence of Princess Anne, Beaton was awarded the George Cross by the Queen, who was visiting Indonesia when the incident occurred; Hills and Russell were awarded the George Medal, and Callender, McConnell, and Edmonds were awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal.

Anne visited Beaton in hospital and thanked him for his assistance.

Princess Anne visiting Jim Beaton at Westminster Hosptial

How I took 3 bullets for Princess Anne – Witness – BBC News

In 1984, the princess spoke about the event on Parkinson saying she was ‘scrupulously polite’ to her would-be kidnapper as she thought it would be ‘silly to be too rude at that stage’.

Princess Anne talks on 1974 kidnap attempt

Ball pleaded guilty to attempted murder and kidnapping. He was still detained under the Mental Health Act as of 2019, at Broadmoor Hospital

Ian Ball, 26, arrives at court where he was charged with the attempted murder of Princess Anne’s bodyguard.
 Ian Ball, 26, arrives at court where he was charged with the attempted murder of Princess Anne’s bodyguard. Photograph: Bettmann/Bettmann Archive

More information on: Ian Ball

Main source : wikipedia.org

Britain’s Most Notorious Psychiatric Hospital (Prison Documentary) | Real Stories

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s