By Mary Davis
Male or female?
Was it a royal?
Alexandrina Victoria came into the world on May 24, 1819. At the tender age of eighteen, she became queen when her late father’s three older brothers passed away with no heirs. There are a lot of facts and tidbits I could write about this queen, but I have chosen to focus on the unprecedented eight attempts on her life.
On February 10, 1840, she married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, whom she proposed to the previous November. Four months later while pregnant, the first attempt on her life occurred. The queen and prince were riding around Hyde park in an open carriage on June 4, 1840, when Edward Oxford stepped out of the crowd and fired twice at Victoria. She was unharmed, and the crowd wrestled Oxford to the ground. Oxford’s motive for this attack is unknown, and he later claimed there were no bullets. He was deemed not guilty but insane and spent time in an asylum before being deported to Australia.
The second and third attempts were perpetrated by John Francis. On May 29, 1842, Francis aimed at the queen and pulled the trigger. However, his gun failed to fire, and he ran off. Convinced Francis would try again, the queen and prince set out on the same route the next day, May 30th. This time several plain-clothed guards were in the crowd. A shot rang out, and they apprehended Francis immediately. He was sentenced to hang but Queen Victoria intervened and had him deported to Australia instead.
Number four occurred on July 3, 1842. While Victoria rode in a carriage to Sunday services, John William Bean made his way to the front of the crowd and pulled the trigger on his weapon. It failed to fire due to being loaded with tobacco instead of bullets. Mentally ill and having a severe spinal deformity, which caused him to be barely four feet tall, he was sentenced to eighteen months of hard labor.
Nearly seven years passed before the fifth attempt on June 29, 1849. William Hamilton, frustrated with Britain’s endeavors to help Ireland during the Irish famine, decided the best course of action was to shoot the queen. However, his gun also had no bullets, only gunpowder.
The sixth was probably the most traumatic for Victoria. Robert Pate, ex British Army officer and known for slightly lunatic behavior, approached the queen in her carriage with three of her children on June 27, 1850. She was visiting a dying uncle at Cambridge House. Pate moved to the front of the crowd and struck the queen on the head with his cane. This left her with a bruise and a scar. Pate was sentenced to seven years in the penal colony in Tasmania.
Well over twenty years came and went before number seven, which was likely the most politically motivated and occurred on February 29, 1872. Seventeen-year-old Arthur O’Connor scaled the wall of Buckingham Palace and slipped past the guards to lie in wait for the queen to return from her ride around London. O’Connor rushed up to Victoria’s carriage and raised a flintlock pistol a foot away from the queen. Guards wrestled him to the ground. O’Connor said he never intended to hurt the queen, which his broken pistol attested to. He only wanted to get her to release Irish political prisoners held in Britain.
And the final attempt was on March 2, 1882 by Roderick Maclean. As the queen left Windsor Station, heading toward the castle, Maclean fired a wild shot at the queen, which missed. Boys from Eton College pummeled Maclean with their umbrellas before the police arrested him. Found not guilty but insane, Maclean spent the rest of his life in an asylum.
Later, Queen Victoria said of this incident, “It is worth being shot at to see how much one is loved.”
She passed away on February 22, 1901 at the age of eighty-one; not from any assassination attempt but from failing health.
I have to say, Queen Victoria seemed to be one of the luckiest people to be targeted and apparently brought out the crazies.
THE LADY’S MISSION (Quilting Circle 5)
2023 SELAH Award Finalist
Will Cordelia abandon her calling for love? Cordelia Armstrong wants nothing more than to escape the social norms for her station in society. Unless she can skillfully maneuver her father into giving up control of her trust fund, she might have to concede defeat—as well as her freedom—and marry. Every time Lamar Kesner finds a fascinating lady, her heart belongs to another. When a vapid socialite is offered up as a prospective bride, he contemplates flying off in his hot air balloon instead. Is Lamar the one to finally break the determination of Cordelia’s parents to marry her off? Or will this charming bachelor fly away with her heart?
Available for order on Amazon.
THE LADY’S MISSION. Her other novels include MRS. WITHERSPOON GOES TO WAR, THE DÉBUTANTE'S SECRET (Quilting Circle 4) THE DAMSEL’S INTENT (Quilting Circle 3) is a Selah Award Winner. Some of her other recent titles include; THE WIDOW’S PLIGHT, THE DAUGHTER'S PREDICAMENT, “Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure” in The MISSAdventure Brides Collection , Prodigal Daughters Amish series, and "Bygones" in Thimbles and Threads. She is a member of ACFW and active in critique groups.
Mary lives in the Rocky Mountains with her husband of thirty-eight years and one cat. She has three adult children and three incredibly adorable grandchildren. Find her online at:
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