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Bethanie

Former Royal bodyguard calls Bethanie Subiaco home.

Since Bethanie acquired the Aged Care Homes from Berrington in Subiaco and Como one year ago, they have been taking the time to get to know the residents. The individuals they now care for truly have some of the most remarkable stories. Here, we chat with John Alexander Falconer, former Royalty Protection Officer, or bodyguard, for Prince Philip and Princess Margaret.

Imagine a job that could take you to the most glorious places in all the world. One day you might be whisked across to sun-baked beaches in the West Indies, the next you might be on a pristine ski run in the Swiss Alps. From Palaces in Japan, Tehran and Cambodia to sheep stations in Australia’s outback – this job will take you everywhere.

This job will ask you to attend some of the most glamorous parties, including Royal Ascot, the Opening of Parliament and the Queen’s Garden Parties.

This job was that of John Alexander Falconer.

For 8.5 years, John was a Royalty Protection Officer, or more commonly a bodyguard. He was required to be Prince Philip and Princess Margaret’s Royal ‘shadow’.

From bomb hoaxes, to gun raids and even altercations with reporters – John was required to do whatever was necessary to protect the Royal family.

John said the biggest issue he encountered in his role always revolved around his pistol, which he dutifully carried under his arm. One day he was in an aeroplane with Princess Margaret, when the captain sent him a message.

“The Captain sent me his sincerest compliments, but understood I was holding a firearm and wanted it deposited in the safe box.” John said.

“I politely returned his compliments and told him that if we were hijacked the pistol would definitely be safer with me than in the safe box!”

Just four days before John retired as a Royalty Protection Officer, he had a private audience with the Queen.

“I’m going to Australia,” John told her.

When asked why, John replied, “I want a swimming pool and 3.5 acres of land to relax on.”

Four years after moving to Australia, John received a call from the Captain of the Royal Yacht. The Captain told him, “the Queen would like to see you, are you able to be in Fremantle tomorrow to meet her at the port?”.

Of course, John obliged, and said it was fantastic to catch up Her Majesty.

John, now at 92 years of age, enjoys a more peaceful life at Bethanie Subiaco. John loves to speak about his time as a Royalty Protection officer and has many photos of himself and the Royals to share.

For more information about Bethanie Subiaco, please call 131 151 or visit: https://www.bethanie.com.au/care-homes/locations/bethanie-subiaco

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