On the 20th March 1974 Princess Anne and her freshly laundered wimpish first husband Capt. Mark Philips were rolling along Pall Mall in a RoyalRoller to Buckingham Palace after a charity filmscreening. (Note here that the "kidnapper" Ian Ball says, "In 1971 I was working at Filmatic Laboratories Ltd., Lonsdale Road, London, W1, as a van driver. I used to spend every working day travelling around the West End collecting and delivering cans of film. )
A light coloured car (Ford Escort) blocked their path and a man appeared who fired six shots (from 1 or 2 guns depending on source) . Insp. Beatson fired back (he got a George Cross) and he and royal chauffeur Alex Callender were wounded.
Ball was caught by PC Peter Edmonds, of Cannon Row was awarded one of the first Queen's Gallantry Medals as the Metropolitan Police officer responsible for capturing Ball. Edmonds was on duty as a temporary detective constable at Cannon Row police station when the call about the attack was received.
He drove to the scene in his own car, and saw a man with a gun running across St James's Park. Edmonds gave chase and, although threatened with the gun, threw his coat over the fugitive's head, forced him to the ground and arrested him.
Others at the scene who attempted to restrain Ball included Pc Michael Hills and Ronald Russell, a cleaning company manager who, having manoeuvred his car in front of Ball's to block his escape, ran across and punched the assailant. Both of them were shot, both later received the George Medal. A Fleet Street reporter, Brian McConnell, who heard shots and leaped out and tried to reason with Ball, was shot in the chest; he was awarded a Queen's Gallantry Medal, as was the chauffeur, Alexander Callender.
Rowena Brassey, the Princess's Lady-in-waiting, was also present and like the royal cople were unharmed . Indeed it looks like no shots were fired at them.
It appeared that the shooting was preliminary to a kidnap attempt on Princess Anne to hold her to ransom. A ransom letter demanding £3Mn. from the was subsequently found demanding £3m for her release.
Ian Ball, 26, was prosecuted for the attempted murder of the princess's detective, and various offences under the Offences Against the Person Act.
Ball was sentenced to life imprisonment and placed in a mental hospital - initially in Rampton and he is currently blieved to be in Broadmoor.
1. A curious untraceable website has appeared at least in 2005 - see ref in A-infos Anarchist website http://www.ianball.me.uk/ purporting to be a statement from Ian Ball.
On the 22nd May 1975 (1974) I was convicted, at the Old Bailey, of attempting to kidnap Her Royal Highness Princess Anne.It continues as a lettermight from a Nigerian source ....
From the accompanying document entitled 'Hoax Explanation' you can see that I did not attempt to kidnap Princess Anne - the whole incident was just an elaborate hoax.
As I am desperate to get out of Broadmoor, I am offering a £1Million reward to the first person who proves the incident was a hoax.
The reward will be paid as follows:- £55'000 immediately (as this is the amount I currently have in my bank account), and the remainder when I have successfully sued the authorities and received the royalties from my autobiography. From the following you can see that the total amount I will get in damages and royalties will be more than enough to cover the cost of the reward.
This page then links to second page http://www.ianball.me.uk/hoax.html entitled Hoax Explanation which you might like to read.
2. Monsters and Critics on Jan 15th 2009 report that Channel 4 Films commenced filming a documentary about the "kidnapping" on Monday (19.01.09) in Bath, SW England with the intention of screening it in September 2009.
According to this M & C report The princess reportedly replied in an unprincesslybut beleivable way ,say "Not b****y likely!" before diving out the other side of the car.
One wonders how an inmate of Broadmoor can set up a website - is this clever viral marketing by Channel 4 ? He's been locked up 35 years now and didn't kill anyone...don't mess with the Windsors.
PS : "To Kidnap a Princess" with Russel Mabey as Ian Ball was made for TV film (ITV) in 2006 and portrayed Ball as a loner schizophrenic.