On the night of March 20, 1974, crazed gunman Ian Ball tried to kidnap Princess Anne

Ian Ball, a crazed gunman, attempted to kidnap Princess Anne on the night of 20 March 1974.

It was the attempted kidnap that nearly cost the life and limb of the queen’s daughter.

Ian Ball, a crazed gunman used his Ford Escort to make Princess Anne’s limousine stop while it was going down The Mall.

After firing volleys of bullets through the Austin Princess windows’ windows, he used his pistol. Captain Phillips was so protective of his wife that he attempted to wrap her up on the opposite side of the car.

Anne’s police guard, Detective Inspector Jim Beaton attempted to help his charge, but the Walther PP jammed his gun and he received three shots in the arms and chest.

In the ensuing melee to stop Ball, a further three people were shot – including Anne’s chauffeur and another policeman.

After being punched in his head by Ronnie Russell (a former boxer), Ball was eventually stopped by Peter Edmonds, an officer who was carrying Anne to safety.

Ball later was found to have mental illness. However, in 2014 it was revealed that Ball had stated in interviews that the ‘one positive thing’ that would come from his ‘audacious crime was that Anne’s safety and security would be improved.

Anne, Prince Charles and Prince William are protected only during official engagements. Kate, the Queen and Prince William get full-time bodyguards from the police.

It was revealed that Prince Harry will sue the Government for removing his UK security officers after he and Meghan Markle retired as working royals in 2012.

Harry was informed yesterday by Dai Davies, the former head for royal protection, that Harry can’t ‘pick and chose’ when he wishes to travel to the UK and have bodyguards.

Anne is not protected full-time, as Mr Davies claimed.

Ball used his Ford Escort car to force the limousine carrying Princess Anne and her husband Captain Mark Phillips to stop as it was driving down The Mall. He then used a pistol to fire volleys of shots through the Austin Princess's windows, prompting the devoted Captain Phillips to shield his wife before he tried to bundle her out the other side of the car. Above: The aftermath of the kidnap attempt. Ball's car is seen blocking the path of the royal limousine

Ball drove his Ford Escort Car to get the limousine with Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips stopped as it was going down The Mall. After that, Ball used his pistol to shoot volleys through the windows of Princess Anne of Austin with a series of bullets. He was able to get Captain Phillips to stop the limousine and protect his wife. Above: Aftermath of the attempted kidnapping. Ball’s car can be seen blocking the route of the royal limousine

Anne's police bodyguard, Detective Inspector Jim Beaton, tried to intervene to protect his charge but his gun, a Walther PP, jammed and he was shot three times in the chest and arms

Anne’s bodyguard police, Detective Inspector Jim Beaton attempted to intervene in order to protect his charges but his Walther PP jammed, and he was hit three times in his chest and arms.

Met Police are not available for hire, Prince Harry was told by an ex-royal police officer. He warned him that he can’t choose when he’d like to travel to the UK. 

A former head of royal protection warned that Prince Harry cannot choose between visiting the UK or receiving protection.

Dai Davies stated that the Duke of Sussex shouldn’t expect bodyguards when he returns home.

GMB was told by Mr Davies who, as Operational Unit Commander of the Royals, stated that he had chosen to travel to America.

It is the Royal Family’s prerogative that any protection aspect be looked at by us. We can do this through multiple security agencies. This is the core.

The risk of this stage being deemed low, it has been determined that they are not going to provide protection.

“But, should there be an imminent danger when he approaches then clearly, the Metropolitan Police would have to perform their duty.”

He continued, “Clearly, it was reviewed in the same manner as many other royal security were done.”

For example, his aunt, Princess Anne, doesn’t receive full-time protection, but she was almost kidnapped or murdered in 1974.

Her protection officer was fired. Harry cannot pick when he comes.

“There’s never been an example of someone paying for security in this country. If required, they will provide it.

At 8.30 p.m. on March 21, 1974, the kidnapping attempt on Princess Anne occurred. After attending a screening of a charity film, she was on her way to Buckingham Palace with her husband.

Anne and Rowena were accompanied in the car by Rowena, Anne’s lady of honor. Alex Callender, the chauffeur was behind the wheel.

Ball had been following Anne’s car on The Mall. He overtook the vehicle in front Clarence House, before stopping abruptly to make it stop.

He got out of the vehicle and began to shoot, as he attempted to enter it.

Miss Sammy Scott was a witness and told Daily Mail that she could see Mark and Princess Anne huddled back in the car.

They were opposite the gunman. A man fell in front of my eyes. It was clear that he had been shot. His blood was everywhere. He laid on the ground.

“Another man came running, I believe a detective. He said, “This man was shot. Why doesn’t this guy go to the hospital?”

“So have we.” The detective opened his jacket, and there was blood streaming from his shoulder. He also fell to the ground.

DI Beaton (now in his 70s) was killed as he attempted to intervene. He missed firing his first round just before the gun jammed.

After being shot two more times, he decided not to defend Anne or her husband but to instead use his body. 

Later, he explained that security procedures have improved since the incident. He stated, “I didn’t have anything.”

“There wasn’t a backup vehicle. We thought that nothing would happen, but the training was inexistent. These people are now highly skilled and highly trained.

Brian McConnell was a journalist following the couple and tried to intercede to stop Ball. He was also shot in the chest. Also, Mr. Callender was shot.

According to legend, Anne was told by Ball that he would kidnap him and that he wanted her out of her car. The princess replied “Not likely!”‘.

Anne decided to leave the vehicle after others tried to stop Ball.

A former boxer, Mr Russell passed away, and won the George Medal to honor his courage efforts. He led Princess Grace to safety, before striking the gunman twice in both the head.

The situation was discovered by PC Michael Hills, who also got shot while trying to help.

Ball was arrested after Detective Constable Peter Edmonds offered support.

While DI Beaton and PC Hills were in hospital, Mr Callender, Mr McConnell and Mr Callender were all able to resume their careers.

The kidnap attempt on Princess Anne took place at around 8.30pm on March 21, 1974. She and her husband, whom she had married the previous year, had been on their way back to Buckingham Palace after attending a charity film screening

At 8.30pm, on March 21, 1974, the kidnapping attempt on Princess Anne occurred. Her husband of the past year was also her bride. They were returning to Buckingham Palace from attending a film screening for charity.

A witness, named as Miss Sammy Scott, told the Daily Mail at the time: 'I could see Princess Anne and Mark huddled in the back of the car'

A witness named Miss Sammy Scott told Daily Mail that she could see Mark and Princess Anne huddled together in the car back.

Along with Mr Russell’s Award, DI Beaton was given the George Cross by Queen Elizabeth II, while PC Hills received the George Medal.

Anne spoke out in 1984, about her ordeal with Michael Parkinson as a chat host. She said that she was’scrupulously polite to her attacker’ because being too rude on stage would be’silly’.

Ball later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to attempted murder and kidnapping. He is currently being held at Broadmoor Hospital in violation of the Mental Health Act.

After a seven month Freedom of Information battle, the Mail revealed that Ball’s excuses to police were false. These documents were due for release in 2048.

Police were told by the kidnapper that Anne was an easy target. The would-be kidnapper claimed he found out about her movements after calling the Buckingham Palace press department.

He said: ‘I had thought about it for years… She would have been the easiest. Her husband was with her when I saw her.

The bid to kidnap Princess Anne was the front page story in the Daily Mail the following day. A witness described the moment she saw DI Beaton collapse after being shot

In the Daily Mail, the Daily Mail’s front page article the next day was about the attempt to kidnap Princess Anne. Witnesses described seeing DI Beaton fall after she was shot.

Princess Anne, Captain Mark Phillips (left) and Queen Elizabeth with a group of guests including Inspector James Beaton (third from left), and former boxer Ronnie Russell (right) after they helped to foil the kidnap attempt

After foiling the kidnapping attempt, Princess Anne, Captain Mark Phillips and Queen Elizabeth were accompanied by Inspector James Beaton (third left) and Ronnie Russell (right). 

Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips are seen at an engagement the week after the kidnap attempt. The couple divorced in 1992

A week after the kidnapping attempt, Captain Mark Phillips and Princess Anne are photographed at an engagement. They divorced in 1992.

Ball was finally stopped when he was bundled to the ground by officer Peter Edmonds after being punched in the head by passing former boxer Ronnie Russell (pictured), who had led Anne to safety

Ball was stopped finally by Peter Edmonds, who brought him down to the ground after he had been punched in the face by Ronnie Russell, an ex-boxer. (pictured) Anne was led to safety by Ronnie Russell.

Also, the files revealed that Ball had no regrets about shooting three men.

He claimed that the police were trying to get in his way, so they had to be shot. The police are responsible for that. They’re expecting to be shot. “I took the chance to get shot, so why should they not?”

Ball had planned to take the Princess to a Central London property which he had rented under an alias, and to demand a ransom of £3 million.

In the beginning, detectives believed that Ball belonged to the IRA. However, he later told officers that ‘I don’t have any friends. I am an individual. This took much thought and effort.

“I cannot expect you to accept or understand that it was my decision and not mine. Are you assuming that I’m part of an IRA? I would be grateful if there were anyone else to help me.

It emerged last weekend that lawyers for Prince Harry have written a 'pre-action protocol' letter to the Home Office, indicating they will seek a judicial review if the Sussexes are not given continued security when they are in Britain

The Home Office received a letter titled “Pre-action Protocol” from Prince Harry’s legal team. This indicated that they intend to seek a judicial review in the event the Sussexes do not receive continued security while they are here.

Police also heard him say: “I knew.” [Beaton]Would be armoured. “If his gun hadn’t jammed, I wouldn’t have died.”  

Prince Edward is still with Princess Anne, and Sophie his wife.   

Others royals, including Princesses Beatrice, Eugenie, and Zara Tindall (granddaughters of Queen Elizabeth), do not have security from the state. Prince Andrew, however, lost it after he stepped down as a royal in November 2019. 

Last weekend, it was revealed that Prince Harry’s lawyers sent a “pre-action protocol” letter to the Home Office. It indicated they would seek a review of the Home Office if they do not provide continued security for the Sussexes while they’re in Britain. 

They indicated that they are happy to pay for cover.