Queen Gambit

Does this make The Naked Gun a documentary?

A royal visit to the United States in the 1980s. An assignation plot targeting Queen Elizabeth II. It’s no longer just the plot to the 1988 comedy The Naked Gun, but something the FBI was genuinely concerned about when the Queen visited the U.S. in 1983. 

The FBI released a new batch of files online pertaining to visits Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, made to the United States in the Eighties and Nineties. The files show that on both occasions, there were concerns about possible protests, disruptions, and even violence, especially in relation to the Troubles — the long-standing conflict in Northern Ireland between the British/pro-British unionists and the Irish republicans opposed to British rule (to broadly simplify an incredibly dense, complex conflict with religious, sectarian, and anti-colonial strains). 

The threat the FBI looked into in 1983 came via a San Francisco police officer, who apparently got the intel from a fellow patron at a local bar favored by those sympathetic to the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA). The man who made the threat claimed that British forces in Northern Ireland had killed his daughter with a rubber bullet, and he was now “going to attempt to harm Queen Elizabeth” during her trip. (All the names in the report have been redacted.)

The man even offered up two scenarios. One involved attacking the Queen during a visit to Yosemite National Park. The other involved a plot that — to be totally honest — seems only slightly less wild than the hypnotize-baseball-legend-Reggie-Jackson plot from The Naked Gun: Drop “some object” onto the royal yacht, Britannia, as it passed beneath the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. 


The Secret Service took the threat seriously enough that it planned to close off the walkway to the Golden Gate Bridge as the Brittania sailed underneath. However, an attack never materialized, and it doesn’t look like any arrests were made. The Queen’s visit was ultimately completed “without incident.” 

So once again, Reggie Jackson: Confirmed innocent!


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