british royal family
For people of notoriety, the possibility of a kidnap attempt exists. That possibility became very real to Great Britain’s Princess Anne and her husband, Captain Mark Phillips on March 20, 1974, as they were returning to Buckingham Palace. It was the closest that anyone has come to abducting a member of the British Royal family in modern times.
Princess Anne was just 23 years old at the time. She was a fun-loving royal celebrity of the day. She was a skilled equestrian, who had been named BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1971, but it was her marriage to a commoner, Captain Mark Phillips that caused a sensation. It is estimated that 500 million watched the ceremony on television. It was a bit unusual for royalty to marry commoners, but as we know, it does happen.
Princess Anne has long been one of the hardest working royals, and still is to this day. On the night of the attempted kidnapping, the couple were returning to Buckingham Palace after a charity film screening. At about 8pm, their chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce was making its way along the Mall when a white Ford Escort suddenly pulled in front and blocked the road. The driver, who was later identified as 26 year old Ian Ball, who was an unemployed laborer suffering from mental illness, jumped out, waving two handguns.
Thankfully, Anne’s bodyguard, Inspector James Beaton, and chauffeur Alex Callendar went to disarm him. Both were shot, but miraculously not fatally. A passing tabloid journalist was also shot. Beaton, who got back to his feet and was shot three times during the attack, was later awarded the George Cross. Ball got into the limo and demanded Anne get out, to which she retorted, “Not bloody likely!” Those were bold words for a young woman facing a would be captor. Obviously, Princess Anne was no ordinary young woman.
Into the chaotic scene ran former boxer Ron Russell, who punched Ball in the head and led the Princess to safety as police arrived. Police officer Michael Hills was also shot before Ball was finally tackled to the ground. The assailant was sentenced to life imprisonment and placed in a psychiatric hospital. In Ball’s car, police found handcuffs, tranquillizers and a ransom note addressed to the Queen. In the letter, he demanded that £2 million be paid to the National Health Service. After Anne’s miraculous escape, the royal family’s security was increased to ensure something like that could never happen again.
They say that children learn what they live, and we all know that is true in many ways. What I find interesting is that when there is a family that has political ties, often they extend way back. Of course, with new people being introduced into the family with marriages and births, things can change, and move away from the ties that had been there before, but often they continue on for generations. That is the case in the Knox family, which is one of the families my husband, Bob comes from. His mom and grandparents were very much not political, but in generations past, there were several presidents in his family, with the one most well known to us being James Knox Polk, who is Bob’s 2nd cousin 5 times removed. I know that is pretty distant, but then, he lived from 1795 to 1849, so it would have to be.
There are also, the presidents who are a little more distant, but still come from the Knox family. Presidents like Andrew Jackson, George HW Bush, and George W Bush. The connections are a little harder to find, because they involve the in-laws and their marriages, but they are nevertheless a familial connection. I suppose that if we go far enough back, we will find a president or some royalty in pretty much every family. It stands to reason when you consider the various family connections. As marriages and births occur, and family connections are formed, it becomes more and more a real possibility. For some of us, like Bob’s family’s political ties, and my family’s tie to Princess Diana and the British Royal Family, the connections are well known to us from the time we are children. For others, those connections are not discovered until much later on, and some never know that a connection exists. To me that is sad, because I have thoroughly enjoyed finding out who I am related to…and I have been very surprised too. Both Bob and I are related to Princess Diana and her children, so the birth of Prince George was particularly exciting to me. Even though the royal family is not exactly a political tie in the normal sense of the word, they are still the ruling family in England, and so political in that way.
I suppose that things can come full circle too, from a very political family to one that is not so political, and back to very political again. And in that way, I would certainly be one of the latter…and possibly the most politically inclined member of the current family…at least for the Knox/Schulenberg side. I doubt if anyone would dispute that. I have no intentions of running for political office. I might be considered more of an activist, in that I have very specific ideas of right and wrong, and I certainly don’t mind voicing my opinions on matters, as my friends can fully attest. What can I say, except that it takes all kinds of people to make this world what it is.