IRA plotted to kill Princess Margaret for THIS
IRA plotted to kill Princess Margaret for calling the Irish ‘pigs’
THE Provisional IRA plotted to kill Princess Margaret almost 40 years ago, according to a biography of the Queen’s sister. Princess Margaret, who died in 2002 at the age of 71, became a target for the terrorist group after she was reported to have made a disparaging remark about Irish people while on an official visit to the United States in October 1979, reveals the book.
At a reception in Chicago, the city’s mayor Jane Byrne and the princess were discussing the recent assassination of her cousin, Lord Mountbatten, when it was reported in the press that Margaret said: “The Irish, they’re pigs.”
Lord Mountbatten and three others died when the IRA remotely detonated a bomb on his fishing boat while on a trip out of Mullaghmore in County Sligo two months earlier.
Reports of Princess Margaret’s alleged remark sparked uproar in Ire- land and among Irish-Americans, who staged angry protests throughout the remainder of her American tour.
Her spokesman, Lord Nigel Napier, vehemently denied that she had made the comment. “There is no truth in the allegation whatsoever,” he told the press two days later.
Mayor Byrne, meanwhile, insisted Princess Margaret had merely been misquoted.
“Somebody overheard Irish jigs and changed it a bit,” she said.
But few Irish republicans believed the denials and, reveals the biography’s author Christopher Warwick, US law enforcement believed the IRA then hatched a plan to kill Margaret.
“According to intelligence received from London, an IRA plot to assassinate Princess Margaret had been uncovered,” says Warwick
Security around the princess was tightened when she visited Los Angeles a week later, where she encountered angry Irish-American protesters.
“The number of secret service agents was immediately doubled,” reveals Warwick, with police snipers on rooftops and bulletproof armour added to her limousine.
A hunt was launched by police and the FBI for a suspected IRA assassin – nicknamed The Jackal, after the hitman in the Frederick Forsyth best-seller The Day Of The Jackal.
On October 24 the LAPD raided a motel room where they believed the IRA gunman was staying, but it was found to be empty.
Despite ongoing protests by groups including Action for Irish Rights, which took a pig’s head on a plate to a fashion show she was attending, Princess Margaret was unfazed.
Mr Warwick said: “Despite alarming repercussions, the tour continued.”
No attempt on her life materialised and Margaret arrived safely back in the UK a few days later.
Two years later, however, a planned visit by the princess to Washington DC was cancelled on the advice of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher amid fears for her safety.
The revelation comes after it was last week revealed that a New Zealand teenager tried to assassinate the Queen during a 1981 visit to the South Island.
Princess Margaret: A Life Of Contrasts by Christopher Warwick (Carl- ton Publishing, £16.99).
Source: EXPRESS CO UK
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