In an article published by the Guardian on World Mental Health Day, she tells the story of Edward Oxford's crime and of his humane treatment when he was found innocent by reason of insanity.
It’s tragic that there is very little sense of true asylum, of sanctuary, within today’s mental healthcare system.Remarkably, Oxford's attempt on Victoria's life - he fired two pistols at the royal carriage at Constitution Hill near Buckingham Palace in May 1840 - was the first of eight more or less serious attempts on the old girl's life.
Barrie Charles, who has written a book on the subject, lists them on his website.
The Social Historian lists only seven but adds a press report from the Nottinghamshire Guardian:
Saturday 15 June 1895 ATTACKS ON THE QUEEN. The apprehension of a crazy youth with a loaded revolver on his way to Balmoral on Friday to obtain an interview with the Queen is the first incident of the kind that has occurred on Deeside. There her Majesty has been singularly free from annoyances of any description, and has usually moved about without any guard or protection whatever.And there was also an incident in Sidmouth when she was a baby. Shooting Victoria has the story:
When in June 1840 Edward Oxford fired his two pistol at Queen Victoria, she suffered the first of her eight assaults. But that was not the first time she found herself at the wrong end of a gun.
Twenty years before, in January 1820, seven-month-old Princess Victoria had just moved into Westbrook Cottage outside Sidmouth, Devon, with her father and mother, the Duke and Duchess of Kent. Her father, then deeply in debt, had chosen the place both to flee creditors in London, and to make sure that his precious daughter, in line for the royal succession, remained in England.
It was there that a boy outside the house, shooting birdshot at sparrows, fired through a window, narrowly missing the infant Victoria, then in the arms of a nurse.This incident was the starting point of And So - Victoria by Vaughan Wilkins, whose historical novels were popular in the 1950s. There it takes on a far more sinister aspect.