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Calm under fire

Giving her horse, Burmese, a reassuring pat, moments after being shot at

The Queen was hard as nails, says Gordon Rayner in The Daily Telegraph. Out riding with her cousin six months after the murder of Earl Mountbatten by an IRA bomb in 1979, she said matter-of-factly: “I’ve been informed that the IRA have a new sort of sniper sight that sees through the mist”, then carried on riding. In 1981, when a 17-year-old gunman fired six shots at her from the crowd before Trooping the Colour, the monarch “kept her horse under control, patted it and insisted on carrying on with the ceremony”. She only found out later the bullets were blanks. And when a concrete block was dropped on her car from a tower block in Belfast, prompting shock from her fellow passengers, the Queen simply said: “It’s a strong car.”

🔫 Something of the Queen’s sangfroid clearly passed on to her daughter Anne. During an attempted kidnapping in London in 1974, an assailant pulled out a pistol and shot the Princess Royal’s chauffeur and bodyguard, as well as a tabloid journalist who tried to intervene, before ordering Anne to get out of her car and come with him. Unruffled, Anne uttered the immortal line: “Not bloody likely.”