7 Kings And Queens With A Tragic Ending: What Was Their Death Like?


History is full of monarchs who died tragically. Yeah; Not even kings and queens are free from misfortune. Whether due to political revenge, family disputes or simply due to an illness or accident, the fact is that there are numerous stories of sovereigns who ended their days in an unpleasant way. And, in many cases, it has not even been possible to fully clarify what happened. If you are interested in knowing some of these characters whose crown did not prevent them from having a tragic end, keep reading. We present you a list of some monarchs who died tragically.

Death knocks at the door of royalty

Murdered Visigothic kings, accidental accidents, absolutely “romantic” illnesses that claimed royal figures in their most tender youth… join us on this journey through 7 stories of kings and queens who ended their days tragically.

1. Elisabeth of Bavaria: the anarchist and the empress

Nothing seemed to foreshadow that one of the most famous sovereigns in Europe would fall under the dagger of an anarchist. However, it was so. Empress Elisabeth of Bavaria (1837-1898), better known as “Sissi”, was in Switzerland, fleeing, as was her custom, from the harsh etiquette of the imperial court. Also as always, the empress traveled incognito under a false name, accompanied only by her faithful chambermaid. However, everyone knew that she was in Geneva.

His name appeared in the local newspapers, a fact that gave the anarchist Luigi Lucheni the idea to “replace” Umberto I, king of Italy, whom he had always wanted to kill to avenge a workers’ repression. He knew that it would be impossible for him to access the king; but the Empress of Austria herself was in Geneva, and she had no escort.

On the morning of September 10, 1898, just as the two women were preparing to board the steamer that was waiting for them on Lake Geneva, Lucheni pounced on Sissi and, with extraordinary aim, stabbed him in the heart with a very fine stiletto. The overture was so small that, at first, the empress only felt a little dizzy, but she kept walking. She believed they had tried to steal her watch. However, it was much more than that. When she reached the ship, she collapsed on the deck, dead. A tragic end for a woman who had never been able to be happy.

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Elisabeth of Bavaria

2. Charles VIII, king of France: be careful with the doors!

Certainly, there are deaths that are caused by situations that, a priori, seem entirely less deadly. And if not, ask King Charles VIII of France, who died suddenly after hitting his head on a door lintel.

It seems that the monarch was in the castle of Amboise, one of the most beautiful of the royal possessions, in the Loire Valley. His wife, Anne of Brittany, had just given birth to a stillborn child and, to cheer her up, the king organized a ball tournament, the jeau de paume, as it was known then, the precursor of modern tennis. Rushing to get to the patio where the game was being played in time, Charles VIII hit his forehead on a door frame. At first he seemed confused, but when it was found that the king could walk and talk without difficulty, no one else thought about the matter. A small incident that, fortunately, had not been serious.

However, a few hours later, when the jeau de paume was at its peak, Charles VIII began to feel really unwell. He remained lying down for nine hours, during which his doctors tried to keep him alive. Everything was in vain. A more than possible traumatic brain injury led him to his grave at only twenty-seven years old. And, what was worse for a king, without any male child to leave the throne…

Charles VIII

3. María de las Mercedes de Orleans: the “queen of the copla” dies

María de las Mercedes de Orleans y Borbón (1860-1878), first wife of the King of Spain Alfonso When her cousin Alfonso met her, when she was just a twelve-year-old girl, he fell passionately in love with her, and stood up to her mother and her government, who urged him to choose another woman. as her wife.

Nothing changed Alfonso’s mind, which earned him unanimous popular support, who sang that song about how the king and queen “marry as the poor marry.” That is, for love. The idyll did not last long. The wedding took place in Madrid on January 23, 1878, months before the bride turned eighteen.

No one could suspect that, just five months later, that pretty brunette girl would be just a cold corpse. According to the official chronicle, it was typhus that took her away. Evil tongues say that her husband gave her a venereal disease. Be that as it may, Queen Mercedes’ fleeting passage through the land inspired romances, couplets and films, to the point that, even today, she remains a symbol of popular romanticism.

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María de las Mercedes de Orleans

4. Teudiselo, king of the Goths: if you are king and you are a Goth, you will probably end up murdered

If the Gothic monarchy is famous for something, it is for what contemporary historians already called morbus gothorum, that is, the “evil of the Goths”, which was nothing other than the fever for murder. And, of the 33 cataloged Gothic kings, 11 were brutally “removed from the way.”

Let us see, for example, the case of Teudiselo (d. 549). Isidore of Seville, in his famous work Historia de regibus Gothorum, Vandalorum et Suevorum (History of the Gothic, Vandal and Suebian kings), left testimony that the death of the king occurred in the midst of a banquet, in the city of Hispalis (Seville). . It seems that several of the assistants stabbed the king to death, although the motive for the murder is not clear.

According to some sources, it was a kind of vendetta by some Hispano-Roman nobles, whose wives Teudiselo would have slept with. The most likely thing, however, is that it was another of the numerous conspiracies among the Gothic aristocracy. Let us remember that, since it was not a hereditary monarchy (the kings were chosen in an assembly), they often used so-called “unethical” ways to get the chosen candidate to sit on the throne.


5. Charles I of England: the first to lose his head

Most people remember Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, guillotined during the French Revolution. However, they were not the first kings to lose their minds to a revolution. King Charles I of England had already done so a century earlier, when the English Parliament had raised its voice against the sovereign’s tyrannical attitude and the so-called English Revolution (1642-1688) had begun.

Charles’s supporters wanted to establish an absolutist monarchy, while parliamentarians wanted to restrict royal power as much as possible. It was a time when absolute monarchies were beginning to emerge in Europe, which would have their maximum expression in the France of Louis XIV.

On January 30, 1649, and after a series of bloody confrontations, Charles I went up to the scaffold. The legend insists that he asked to be dressed in two shirts, since he did not want the public to confuse the trembling caused by the cold with fear.

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Charles I of England

6. Isabel of Braganza: the sad (and hard) task of giving heirs to the throne

The second wife of King Ferdinand VII of Spain, Isabel de Braganza (1797-1818) has been sadly forgotten by history, but it was she, neither more nor less, who promoted the creation of the Prado Museum. A cultured and discreet woman, famous for her simplicity, it does not seem that she was very happy at the Madrid court, and much less with her husband who had fallen to her lot, who was also her full uncle.

After some unsuccessful births (the babies were stillborn), in 1818 the queen was pregnant again. Everyone longed for a successful outcome, not so much for the poor queen but to leave the future of the monarchy “secured.” In December, in Aranjuez, the queen felt the pain of childbirth, which apparently was very complicated. For long hours, the doctors tried to bring the process to a successful conclusion, but at a certain point the queen became inert. The doctors believed that she had died, so, to save her fetus, they proceeded to perform a cesarean section.

The surprise was enormous when Isabel de Braganza began to scream. She wasn’t dead; she had simply fainted. But it was too late. The doctors’ carnage sentenced the queen to death and, ultimately, the child, who also died. A sad ending absolutely undeserved.

Isabella of Braganza

7. Blanca de Borbón: the imprisoned queen

Sigüenza Castle had, in the 14th century, an illustrious prisoner: Blanca de Borbón, daughter of the Duke of Borbón and wife of King Pedro I the Cruel of Castile. It was the year 1355, and years ago the sovereign had been repudiated by her legitimate husband. According to some, because of her love for María de Padilla; according to others, because the French king (a relative of the Duke of Bourbon) had not paid the entirety of her stipulated dowry.

The abandonment to which the monarch has subjected the queen raises blisters in Castile, to the point that a civil war breaks out. Of course, marital problems were just an excuse (as always) for two warring factions to settle their differences in blood.

And what happened to poor Blanca after all this? She was imprisoned by her husband in different locations; in the last of them, Jerez de la Frontera, she died mysteriously at the age of twenty-five. Evil tongues suggest that her husband sent a doctor to poison her so that she could put an end to such an “annoying obstacle” once and for all. It is clear that wearing a crown is no guarantee of happiness. They say that the last words of the unfortunate woman were: “Tell me, Castilla, what have I done to you?”

Bourbon White