is incredible the things some people are willing to do to become famous, especially today, but nothing beats the time a teenager tried to become famous by attempting to fake the Queen of England’s assassination. There is not much of a point to actually describing the stupidity of this decision but it is interesting to explain and define the details of this event.
On the 13th of June, 1981 the Trooping the Colour ceremony took place which takes place every year since the 17th century. This ceremony is performed by the regimens of the British and Commonwealth armies. However, since Queen Elizabeth II became the queen, the tradition changed in Britain.
Over 1400 parading soldiers, 200 horses, and 400 musicians come together each June in a great display of military precision, horsemanship, and fanfare to mark the Queen’s official birthday. Once the Queen has arrived at Horse Guard’s Parade in Whitehall, she is greeted by a Royal salute and carries out an inspection of the troops, who are fully trained and operational soldiers wearing the ceremonial uniform of red tunics and bearskin hats.
When she was younger she would take part in the parade, wearing the British regiment uniform, and even rode her own horse just like in 1981. Although Royal security was always alert, assassination attempts toward the royal family in the 20th century weren’t very frequent, and especially no one expected it to happen at that time.
One Wild Teenager and Six Blank Bullets
On the 13th of June, 1981, the Queen was marching towards the Trooping the Colour ceremony in accordance with the British Royal Regiment, or in other words the Queen’s guards, towards Whitehall. The street was closed and people were allowed to watch the parade from the sidewalk of streets. There was not one single person that ever expected an assassination attempt, but as the Queen marched on, everyone was panicked by the sound of six quick shots, followed by screams.
After hearing the shots everyone turned their attention towards Elizabeth who was still standing, but her horse went berserk. The Royal guards scrambled through the crowd trying to look for the shooter and they easily found him as he was already with his hands behind his head after firing the shots.
The shooter turned out to be Marcus Sarjeant, a 17-year-old who was obsessed with political figures. He was also an admirer of Lee Harvey Oswald, the admitted assassin who killed John F. Kennedy. Upon being taken into custody by the police, they were given some photos that they had received a couple of hours before the incident of Sarjeant holding the same pistol he shot at the scene.
This was all part of Sarjeant’s plan to become famous. The teenager looked at the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan, and he was inspired by how easy people were becoming famous for attempting to assassinate other globally famous people. Sarjeant also wanted to become famous by only attempting to assassinate someone well known, and who is more popular than the Queen of England?
That is why the teenager took photos of himself holding his father’s gun and sent them off to news outlets hours before the incident. For those who may be a bit confused by “blank bullets”, these bullets are usually used as props in movies and they only contain gunpowder to make a big boom, but there is no projectile, therefore they are harmless.
The boy was so stupid that he did not realize the risk he put himself in. If one of the royal guards was to see him wielding a gun before taking the shot, they were, and still are, allowed by law to shoot him down like a sack of potatoes. Sarjeant told the officers that his intentions were never to assassinate the Queen and the blank bullets proved it.
Although no one was harmed, the teenager still got five years of prison once he became of age as he breached an old British law. A law from 1842 states that even pointing the gun at any member of the royal family is considered an act of betrayal. The boy wrote a letter of apology to the Queen but he never got a response. In 1984 the boy was released early for good behavior and the first thing he did was change his name in order to start a new life.
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