plus/minus epsilon

The Absurd Assassination Attempts of Queen Victoria

28 Oct 2022

While this might be more commonly known outside of the US, the numerous and comically incompetent assassination attempts of Queen Victoria were, until tonight, unknown to me. This blog post quickly lists them.

  1. In 1840, when Victoria was 18 years old, Edward Oxford fired two pistols in succession at her while she was riding in a carriage, but both shots missed despite being from a short distance. Oxford was immediately seized by onlookers.
  2. In 1842, John Francis aimed a gun at Victoria while she was riding in a carriage through London but the gun failed to fire. Francis managed to escape, though observed by Victoria and others.
  3. The day after the previous assassination attempt, Victoria insisted on riding a carriage through the same route as before, though this time faster and with plain-clothed police officers along the route. Francis was successfully baited into firing at her a second time, but the shot missed and he was captured by police.
  4. Two months after Francis’ failed assassination attempts, John Bean tried to assassinate Victoria while she left Buckingham Palace in a carriage. However, the gun failed to fire because it was loaded with bits of tobacco instead of a bullet.
  5. In 1849, disgruntled Irishman William Hamilton fired a pistol at Victoria. However, he didn’t succeed in assassinating her because, like Bean, he neglected to load the gun properly.
  6. In 1850, Robert Pate noticed a crowd of people outside Cambridge House where Victoria was visiting family. Pate, for no apparent reason, walked to the front of the crowd and hit her in the head with his cane, bruising her forehead.
  7. In 1872, Arthur O’Connor broke into Buckingham Palace grounds and waited for Victoria to return from a trip around London. When she did, he waved an unloaded pistol at her with the intention of intimidating her into freeing Irish prisoners in Britain.
  8. In 1882, Roderick Maclean, a disgruntled poet that was offended by Victoria’s rejection of one of his poems, shot at her while her carriage was leaving a train station. He missed substantially and two college students beat him with their umbrellas until he was arrested by police.