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Saturday 3 June 2023 Dublin: 17°C
Stuart C. Wilson
# Heavy lies the crown
'Bloody hell Your Majesty, I nearly shot you' - Britain's queen was almost killed by her guardsman
“Next time I’ll ring through beforehand so you don’t have to shoot me,” Elizabeth II is reported to have told the guardsman.

IT’S TOUGH WORK being a 90-year-old monarch today.

Quite apart from the business of having to celebrate two birthdays, look after eight residences, dodge bomb plots, having one’s every sniffle and cough immediately made public news, and having one’s life dramatised on Netflix, there is also the very real danger of being shot inside one’s own palace walls.

Insomnia can strike anyone, but it appears to hold particular dangers for the eldest scion of Britain’s House of Windsor, if a report in today’s London Times is anything to go by.

The 90-year-old will occasionally put on her coat and go for a short wander outside, an ex-guardsman tells The Times.

Late at 3am one night, he was patrolling inside the perimeter of the Palace walls when he spotted a figure in the darkness.

Ever vigilant, and fearing a dangerous trespasser sneaking into the Royal grounds, he shouted: “Who’s that?”

To his surprise, it was actually Queen Elizabeth II herself – head of state of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and 12 other states; head of the Commonwealth of Nations; and head of the Church of England.

Startled, the guardsman is reported to have told his boss:

Bloody hell, Your Majesty, I nearly shot you.

He told The Times he expected a telling off for neglecting proper decorum in addressing the UK sovereign.

“That’s quite all right,” she replied, putting him at ease.

Next time I’ll ring through beforehand so you don’t have to shoot me.

It is believed the encounter happened in the gardens at the queen’s normal London weekday residence, Buckingham Palace.

Earlier this year, convicted murderer Dennis Hennessy was jailed four months after scaling the walls of Buckingham Palace and and asking “is Ma’am in?”.

Read: Queen Elizabeth misses another church service due to ‘heavy cold’

Read: Sweden’s Queen says there are ‘friendly ghosts’ in the royal palace

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