New Zealand‘s intelligence agency has confirmed for the first time that a teenager tried to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to the southern city of Dunedin in 1981, sparking a police inquiry into how the incident was handled.
Documents released by the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (SIS) show that then 17-year-old Christopher Lewis shot at the queen as she got out of her vehicle on the way to a science fair on Oct. 14 during her eight-day tour of the Commonwealth nation.
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The memo was declassified in February and sent to Reuters on Thursday. It revealed that the would-be assassin did not find a “suitable vantage point from which to fire.” The documents were declassified in response to a request by Fairfax Media.
Members of the crowd in Dunedin and reporters heard the shot, but were initially told by police that the noise was from a falling sign or a car backfiring.
The Queen’s visit in 1981 included a stop at the capital Auckland where she was treated to a dramatic display of Maori, and other Polynesian dancing at a ceremony.