How Margaret Thatcher Barely Escaped An Assassination Attempt

When people become the head of a country, they become quite powerful — they can truly shape daily life for many of their citizens. They are also placed squarely in the crosshairs of many who would try to usurp that power or change the dynamics of it by eliminating them, whether through assassination or kidnapping. It's happened in America several times, from Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan. While the one in power must continue to do their job, that knowledge that they are a target must be in the back of their minds.

Yes, there are those whose jobs are to protect the ones in higher office. They are human beings, though. Things can happen, like a detail missed or even the sheer determination of the other side to carry out their acts. Then it can be up to the fates to decide if the terrorists are to be successful. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was one of those who ended up on the good side of the fates after surviving a bombing attempt.

Margaret Thatcher would live for nearly three decades more after the attempt

The heinous act was carried out by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) at the Grand Hotel in Brighton, England on October 12, 1984, via the CBC. The Conservative Party, of which Thatcher was a member, had convened at the hotel, making it a desirable target for terrorists. Just before 3:00 a.m., while everyone was sleeping, the IRA detonated a gelignite bomb that caved in six stories of the hotel. Thatcher and her husband both survived, but an MP, Sir John Berry, was not as fortunate. Overall, there were five deaths and 30 injuries.

This happened even despite increased security measures. Of course, the IRA had to try to get in the last word, releasing a statement saying, "Today, we were unlucky. But remember, we only have to be lucky once — you have to be lucky always." It didn't take much reading between the lines to realize they were letting everyone know they would be trying again.

The unsuccessful bombing attempt did nothing to deter Thatcher, who went on to serve as Prime Minister for six more years before resigning in 1990 after losing the confidence of her own Conservative Party, via History. After that, she remained in politics as a baroness in the House of Lords until her death at 87 from a stroke, according to Biography, having long ago gotten the last laugh on those would-be bombers.