A witness said the future monarch stayed "cool as a cucumber" in the frightening situation
On Jan. 26, 1994, then-Prince Charles was visiting Darling Harbour in Sydney for Australia Day. The Prince of Wales, then 45, was preparing to present prizes to schoolchildren before a crowd of 20,000 when 23-year-old David Kang released the firearm, the Daily Mail reported. Kang hopped onto the stage at Tumbalong Park and seemed to trip before being tackled, but he managed to come within just a few feet of the then-heir to the throne.
According to the outlet, Charles stayed calm and continued with his speech after everything settled. The Mail later dubbed him “His Royal Coolness.”
Australian of the Year Ian Kiernan was one of the people who helped tackle Kang, who was then arrested, and said the royal likened the attack to being charged by an elephant in Kenya.
“Prince Charles was fantastic. He was as cool as a cucumber,” Kiernan said, the Los Angeles Timesreported via Reuters.
Kang later said in court that he was attempting to draw attention to the Cambodian refugees, The Sydney Morning Heraldreported. The Cambodian refugees arrived by boat on Australian shores in the late 1980s and early 1990s to seek asylum and then sent to detention centers, drawing out the resettlement process, per the State Library of New South Wales. The Sydney Morning Herald added that Kang also said he suffered from depression.
Kang was found guilty of threatening unlawful violence and ordered to 500 hours of community service, the Herald said. The newspaper reported that The Sun-Herald got in touch with him before the future King Charles traveled back to Australia in February 2005 for his first visit since the Darling Harbour incident.
According to the Morning Herald, Kang became a lawyer and has maintained that he did not intend to hurt anyone on Australia Day.
"What happened 11 years ago was an extremely traumatic experience and I have certainly moved on in my life and now I have become a barrister here in Sydney," Kang told the Morning Herald in an article published in January 2005.
"Certainly 11 years ago was a traumatic experience and is something I don't want to bring back those memories again," he said. "To think about it even now unsettles me a little bit... what happened back then was extremely traumatic and the effect it had on my family was deeply upsetting."
Fast forward to the present, and it’s understood that King Charles is doing well after undergoing surgery for an enlarged prostate on Friday. The update came on the same day that Buckingham Palace announced he was admitted to the hospital for treatment, and he and Queen Camilla were seen at The London Clinic.
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Queen Camilla briefly spoke about her husband’s health on Friday as she left the private hospital, where well-wishers were gathered outside.
"He's fine, thank you," Queen Camilla, 76, said about Charles as she headed to her car, according to ITV's Chris Ship.
Buckingham Palace announced on Jan. 17 that King Charles was seeking treatment for an enlarged prostate less than two hours after Kensington Palace announced that Kate Middleton had abdominal surgery the day prior.
The London Clinic had two royal patients, as Princess Kate continued her recovery following planned abdominal surgery on Jan. 16.
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