The Queen dodged a sword that came within a hair of her face after a regally dressed man made a careless turn in front of the nearly 87-year-old monarch.
The event happened at the funeral for Margaret Thatcher at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. The man responsible was Alderman Roger Gifford, the Lord Mayor of London. He had the sword at his side and the queen behind him, and swung his body around to greet the royal couple and lead them to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
When Gifford turned quickly, the queen had to dodge the sword at his side before it could slice her.
The sword itself has a special meaning. It’s the official Mourning Sword, and hasn’t been brought out since the funeral for Winston Churchill.
Queen Elizabeth, whose birthday is on Sunday, almost didn’t get to see 87.
Thatcher’s funeral otherwise went out without incident. Though protests were expected, there was no civil unrest despite there being street celebrations by Thatcher’s enemies after her death was initially reported.
“There were dissenters, of course, but this was one day when the jeers were massively overwhelmed by the cheers,” the Daily Mail noted. “In a quite remarkable tribute to the woman many describe as our greatest peacetime prime minister, they threw flowers, applauded.”
The event drew more than 100,000 spectators as the funeral procession made its way to St. Paul’s Cathedral. Included in that were close to 2,000 dignitaries and 4,000 police officers to keep order.
Security was tight, however, with 4,000 cops making sure any demonstrations against Margaret Thatcher never got out of hand.
Thatcher, the only woman to have ever led the British government, died at age 87 from a stroke. Her funeral nearly claimed the UK’s other famous female leader.
But not everyone was so grim when the Queen dodged the sword. The Duke of Edinburgh was seen shooting a quick grin to his wife as he watched the incident unfold.