How Queen Victoria Escaped 8 Assassination Attempts, Proving She Had 9 Lives
Today, we embark on a captivating journey through time as we delve into the extraordinary life of Queen Victoria. From 1837 to 1901, she held the throne for a remarkable 63 years.
We step into the Victorian Era and uncover a surprising aspect of Queen Victoria’s reign: her astonishing resilience in the face of not one, not two, but a staggering eight assassination attempts. Prepare yourself for a riveting tale of survival against all odds.
Edward Oxford–June 10, 1840
On June 10, 1840, the first assassination attempt took place shortly after Queen Victoria’s marriage to Prince Albert and during her pregnancy. A man named Edward Oxford took aim at them with a pistol, but his shots miraculously missed the mark.
Brave onlookers sprang into action, apprehending the assailant. Undaunted by the incident, the queen and Albert chose to carry on, not letting the incident diminish their trust in the public.
May 29, 1842–John Francis
After attending a ceremony at St. James’ Palace on a Sunday afternoon, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert took a carriage ride down London’s The Mall. During this journey, Albert observed a suspicious person he described as a “swarthy, ill-looking rascal.”
John Francis pointed a pistol toward the carriage and pulled the trigger. Fortunately for the Queen, the flintlock handgun misfired. Francis hurriedly concealed the weapon and vanished towards Green Park after failing in his mission.
May 30, 1842–John Francis
The Queen and Albert decided to drive about the city in the evening. Despite being on high alert and continually checking their surroundings, a gunshot rang out just five paces from their carriage.
Francis ventured at a second assassination attempt on the Queen but failed. He was quickly captured, declared guilty, and sentenced to death by hanging and quartering. However, at the request of the Queen, his punishment was commuted to deportation.
July 3, 1842–John William Bean
Queen Victoria was confronted with a new threat shortly after the previous attempt. As she walked out of Buckingham Palace, John William Bean, a despondent man with a spinal disability, pointed a revolver at her.
However, the weapon misfired, and Bean fled. Following that, the authorities searched for people who matched the description of a short hunchback and eventually discovered Bean at his home. Bean attempted to reason that the queen was never in danger because his rifle was filled with more tobacco than gunpowder.
June 19, 1849–William Hamilton
William Hamilton fired a pistol at Queen Victoria and her children during a ride through Hyde and Regents Park after the Queen’s birthday celebrations. Fortunately, the Queen was unharmed, but Hamilton was apprehended.
He claimed he had come from Ireland due to the Great Hunger but was now unemployed in London. Hamilton, who simply loaded the weapon with gunpowder, pleaded guilty and was deported to Gibraltar for seven years.
June 27, 1850–Robert Pate
During a visit to Cambridge House with three of her children, Queen Victoria witnessed an act of violence rather than an assassination attempt. As she was about to board a carriage for Buckingham Palace, Robert Pate emerged from the crowd and whacked the Queen on the head with his cane.
Her injuries were minor, with only a bruise, a black eye, and a scar. Following the attack, the crowd quickly intervened and drew him away.
February 29, 1872–Arthur O’Connor
Queen Victoria was threatened during a carriage ride in London when 17-year-old Arthur O’Connor climbed the fence around Buckingham Palace with assassination intentions.
As O’Connor dashed towards the carriage, brandishing a revolver, he was quickly seized by John Brown, the Queen’s personal secretary, who disarmed him. Brown received a heroism medal for his bravery. As a result of his acts, O’Connor received a one-year prison sentence, 20 birch rod strokes, and deportation to Australia.
March 2, 1882–Roderick Maclean
On March 2, 1882, Queen Victoria faced her final assassination attempt. The audience, including pupils from Eton College, cheered her carriage as she left Windsor Station for Windsor Castle. Roderick Maclean fired a single shot at her, which fortunately missed.
The Eton boys in the crowd promptly supported their Queen, fighting Maclean until authorities captured him. Maclean was eventually found not guilty by reason of insanity and spent the rest of his life in an asylum.
A Resilient Queen
Despite the numerous attempts on Queen Victoria’s life, none of her attackers were successful. These assassination attempts did not deter the determined Queen.
For instance, after the attack by Robert Pate, she swiftly resumed her official duties a mere two hours later, displaying her unwavering dedication and resilience.