8 Times Queen Victoria Cheated Death Throughout Her Reign - Sabi Tips


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8 Times Queen Victoria Cheated Death Throughout Her Reign

Queen Victoria made plenty of headlines throughout her reign. Unfortunately, as you can see below, more than a few of those stories detailed attempts made to end her life.

It’s not uncommon for public figures to be targeted in attacks like these. That said, you have to admit that a total of eight within her 25 years on the throne goes pretty above and beyond the norm.

Although she only sustained injuries during one attack, each example goes to show just how resilient Victoria was during her reign. She continued to cheat death despite each attempt — even three separate attacks within the span of just a couple of months. It definitely takes a strong woman to bounce back from something like that!

1. June 10, 1840

A few months after her marriage to Albert, a man named Edmund Oxford made the first attempt on Victoria’s life while the couple enjoyed their regular carriage ride through Hyde Park.

Albert described spotting Edmund in the crowd as “a little mean-looking man holding something toward us,” according to an excerpt from Queen Victoria: Her Glorious Life and Illustrious Reign, by Thomas W. Handford.

Edmund fired two separate pistols at the royal couple, but despite being in close range, missed them completely. He was taken into custody while Albert and Victoria, who was pregnant at the time, continued their ride.

2. May 29, 1842

Two years after the first assassination attempt, Albert saw another nefarious man lurking in the crowd as he and Victoria made their way back to the palace following a Sunday morning service at the royal chapel at St. James’s Palace.

The man’s name was John Francis, and although he pulled the trigger toward them, his pistol didn’t fire. He slipped away into the nearby park before he could be apprehended.

3. May 30, 1842

Despite the scare just one day before, Victoria refused to hide away in the palace while authorities attempted to track down John Francis.

Instead, she and Albert took an evening carriage ride to try to flush the gunman down. It worked: John took another shot at the Queen in close range, but his aim was off.

He was sentenced to be executed for treason, but Victoria was surprisingly kind enough to only have him banished from the country, according to reports from The Telegraph.

4. July 3, 1842

After John Francis’ failed attempts, another gunman appeared that same summer to take aim at the Queen.

John William Bean was just 17 years old at the time. According to Barrie Charles, a historical researcher and author, the teen suffered a spinal condition that made him hunch over at just four-feet tall.

He also targeted the royal couple at Hyde Park, but his weapon was loaded with more tobacco and paper than actual ammunition. John managed to escape but, thanks to his distinct physical appearance, he was found in his family home later that day and sentenced to 18 months of hard labor.

5. June 19, 1849

Queen Victoria had a blissful seven years without anyone trying to snuff her out before an Irishman named William Hamilton made his attempt after the public celebration of her 30th birthday.

The unemployed bricklayer wasn’t really concerned with taking her life, but instead wanted relief from being left destitute by the Great Famine in Ireland.

William pleaded guilty to charges and was sentenced to seven years of hard labor.

6. June 27, 1850

After surviving so many attempts on her life, Victoria was only ever actually injured during an attack from a British Army officer named Robert Pate.

Robert was becoming well known for his erratic behavior, something his criminal record attributes to suffering a case of rabies. He used an iron-tipped cane to whack the Queen over the head, leaving her with a black eye and a scar that lingered for years.

He was sent to prison in Tasmania for seven years, but only served less than one.

7. February 29, 1872

Arthur O’Connor, another 17-year-old assailant, managed to scale the gates at Buckingham Palace when Victoria was returning home that evening.

He got within a foot’s distance of where she stood at the palace entrance with his pistol before her bodyguard, John Brown, tackled him to the ground. Although it was discovered that the teen’s gun wasn’t actually functional, he was still eventually exiled to Australia.

8. March 2, 1882

The last attempt on Victoria’s life occurred when she arrived back in London at Windsor Station after traveling abroad.

Roderick Maclean fired his gun in her direction, but was subdued by a group of Eton College students who were welcoming the Queen home after her trip. Roderick was ultimately deemed mentally unstable and spent the rest of his life in an asylum.

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