10 Curious Royal Deaths

1.Edward II of England

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EDWARD II of England (1307-27) met a painful end in Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire, when three assassins, hired on the orders of his Queen, Isabella, and her lover Roger Mortimer, rammed a long, open-topped deer’s horn up the King’s backside. With this firmly in position, the red-hot tip of a long- handled poker was inserted through the horn and deep into Edward’s bowels. The poker was then withdrawn, reheated and reinserted at least once more. Edward’s screams resounded through the castle but, with no marks on his body the death was ascribed to natural causes.

2. Alexandros I of Greece

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ALEXANDROS I of Greece (1917-20) died from blood poisoning after being bitten by his pet monkey.

3. Henry I of England

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HENRY I of England (1100-35) died after eating a surfeit of lampreys (small eel-like creatures) at a banquet in France.

4. Charles VII of France

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CHARLES VII of France (1483-98) was noted for his manners. On entering a tennis court at the Chateau d’Amboise, he bowed to his wife and allowed her to proceed first, but, as he raised his head from his magnanimous gesture, he crashed it against a low wooden beam, fracturing his skull and killing him.

5.Mithridates VI of Pontus

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MITHRIDATES VI of Pontus in Asia Minor (132 BC-63 BC) took small doses of poison throughout his life to develop a resistance should anyone try to poison him. He built up such a strong immunity that when he tried to take his own life to escape the approaching Romans, the poison he took had no effect. Instead he ordered a slave to kill him with a sword.

6. Haakon III of Norway

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HAAKON III of Norway (1905-57) slipped on the soap in his marble bath and struck his head fatally on one of the taps.

7. Queen Eleanor

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QUEEN ELEANOR, wife of Edward I of England (1272-1307), was so distressed to see her husband lying gravely ill after poison had set into a battle wound that she personally sucked all the poison from the wound. Her brave deed saved the King’s life but killed her. Edward was so moved by her sacrifice that he ordered large crosses – subsequently known as Eleanor crosses – to be erected at each of the 12 places where her coffin stopped during its coach journey from Nottinghamshire to London.

8. King John of England

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KING JOHN of England (I199-1216) died in an East Anglian abbey after a sumptuous banquet, laid on for him by grateful subjects. The townsfolk of Lynn had just been awarded a handsome contract to supply the royal garrisons and, to repay the King, they rounded off the banquet with his favorite dessert peaches in cider. Alas, he consumed such a great amount that he suffered violent stomach pains and died a few days later.

9. Margaret, ‘Maid of Norway’

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MARGARET, ‘Maid of Norway’, was nominally declared Queen of Scotland in 1286 but it was not until 1290 that the seven-year-old Queen sailed from Norway to claim her new kingdom. Alas, on the journey across the North Sea, she suffered terrible sea-sickness and died in the Orkneys before ever setting foot on the Scottish mainland.

10. Edmund Ironside

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EDMUND IRONSIDE, King of Southern England, for just eight months, was murdered in 1016 while sitting on the toilet. He sat on the long wooden lavatory box in his house to empty his bowels, little knowing that an enemy knight, Edric Streona, was lurking in the pit below. As poor Edmund sat down, Streona twice thrust a sword into him.

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