Princess Anne’s former bodyguard has revealed that he had no idea the man who stopped their car 36 years ago was about to attempt to kidnap the royal – and how the incident changed the family’s security measures forever.

Jim Beaton, a former Metropolitan Police inspector, was shot three times as he put himself between Anne, who was just 23 at the time, and a gunman during the failed kidnap bid in March 1974. 

The former security officer, now 76, who was later awarded the George Cross, the highest civilian honour for gallantry, was shot in the arm, hand and chest as he stopped Ian Ball, then 26, from his attempt to kidnap her from a Rolls Royce in exchange for a £2million ransom. 

Jim has shared the new details just a week after the ex heavyweight boxer Ronnie Russell, now 72, who intervened and chased the would-be kidnapper away revealed that he would be selling his George Medal to pay for healthcare.

Princess Anne’s former bodyguard Jim Beaton has revealed that he had no idea the man who stopped their car 36 years ago was about to attempt to kidnap the royal – and how the incident changed the family’s security measures forever

The former security officer, now 76, who was later awarded the George Cross, the highest civilian honour for gallantry, was shot in the arm, hand and chest as he stopped Ian Ball, then 26, from his attempt to kidnap her from a Rolls Royce in exchange for a £2million ransom

The former security officer, now 76, who was later awarded the George Cross, the highest civilian honour for gallantry, was shot in the arm, hand and chest as he stopped Ian Ball, then 26, from his attempt to kidnap her from a Rolls Royce in exchange for a £2million ransom

Reliving the frightening moment their path was blocked on the evening of March 20, Jim told The Times: ‘I thought it was somebody who wanted to be a pain in the neck. There was no hint of what was to happen.’

Revealing that he was shot straight away, causing him to miss when he shot back and jamming his gun, he explained how the security measures changed immediately after the incident. 

He said: ‘I had nothing. There was no back-up vehicle. The training was non-existent; but then again, we thought nothing was going to happen. They are highly specialised now, highly trained.’

Explaining how they stopped using the brand of gun that jammed on the night, he remembered how Anne’s security was beefed up straight away, revealing of Anne’s hospital visit to him the next day: ‘She turned up with two policemen. From then on, that’s what it was. Which is why the Walthers were got rid of overnight.’ 

Jim (seen third left) has shared the new details just a week after the ex heavyweight boxer Ronnie Russell, now 72, (seen far right) who intervened and chased the would-be kidnapper away revealed that he would be selling his George Medal to pay for healthcare

Jim (seen third left) has shared the new details just a week after the ex heavyweight boxer Ronnie Russell, now 72, (seen far right) who intervened and chased the would-be kidnapper away revealed that he would be selling his George Medal to pay for healthcare

Ian Ball (in centre) was the 26 year old man who was charged with attempting to murder Princess Anne's bodyguard, Inspector James Wallace Beaton

Ian Ball (in centre) was the 26 year old man who was charged with attempting to murder Princess Anne’s bodyguard, Inspector James Wallace Beaton

His revelation comes after an ex heavyweight boxer who was awarded the George Medal after saving Princess Anne from a gun-toting kidnapper has revealed the Queen paid off his mortgage to thank him for his bravery.

Ronnie Russell, 72, was shot at after he punched fanatical loner Ian Ball twice in the head as he tried to take the princess hostage at gunpoint in central London in March 1974.

He was awarded The George Medal medal but is now reluctantly selling it to help provide for his future after his health deteriorated following several strokes.

The former boxer has now revealed how, before he was due to receive his medal at Buckingham Palace, police visited his home in Strood, Kent, on which he was struggling to pay his mortgage.

Princess Anne, seen last month, reportedly retorted 'Not bloody likely' when she was told by the kidnapper to get out of the car in 1974

Princess Anne, seen last month, reportedly retorted ‘Not bloody likely’ when she was told by the kidnapper to get out of the car in 1974

Mr Russell, who now lives in Bristol, is reluctantly selling the George Medal as he is in poor health, having suffered several strokes, and wants to be able to provide for his future.

Ian Ball had blocked the princess’s car with his own as it drove along the Mall back to Buckingham Palace, and fired a series of shots through the rear window as he tried to kidnap the princess.

The princess and her then husband, Captain Mark Phillips, were unhurt during the late-night ambush.

But her personal detective, chauffeur, a police constable and a journalist were all shot by Ball, who was armed with two revolvers.

Mr Russell was then a 28-year-old 6ft 2in 17-stone former boxer who trained at the same club as the Kray twins in Bethnal Green.

The area cleaning manager was heading home to Kent when he saw the incident unfold and rushed to the newly married couple’s aid.

Ronnie, seen in 2010, said this week he is selling his George Medal as he needs the money

Ronnie, seen in 2010, said this week he is selling his George Medal as he needs the money

The Daily Mail's coverage of the attempted kidnap attempt in March 1974

The Daily Mail’s coverage of the attempted kidnap attempt in March 1974

 

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