Weird History
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The Actual Last Words Of Historical Royals And Rulers

February 24, 2021 2.6k votes 513 voters 51.4k views11 items

List RulesVote up the royals with the most fitting final words.

The last words of historical royalty offer a unique look into the final moments of their lives. Was their last utterance an act of kindness like Marie Antoinette's? Or a touching, perhaps dazed, expression of love like Napoleon's? 

While some of the last words of famous kings and queens are well-documented, others could be more legend than historical fact - especially those that go farther back in history. But for those royals, the stories surrounding their last words are just as informing as the reported words themselves. In any case, the last words found here range from the incoherent, confused ramblings of royals quickly losing health to the sound communications from royals all too aware of what was about to happen. 

  • Photo: W. & D. Downey / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    Last Words: "God damn you."

    Context: According to the royal physician attending George V, Lord Dawson, Queen Mary and the future King Edward VIII told the physician not to prolong the King's life if his ailment was fatal. Decades later, the truth of the King's death was finally uncovered: Lord Dawson took that instruction and administered fatal doses of morphine and cocaine to the King. Whether this was euthanasia or murder has long been the subject of debate. 

    The King was likely not consulted about this plan prior to his passing, but Dawson's notes indicate that while the King was being given a small dose of morphine to help him sleep, he uttered his final words.

    • Age: Dec. at 70 (1865-1936)
    • Birthplace: Marlborough House, London, United Kingdom
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  • Photo: Andrew Bossi / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.5

    Last Words: "You too, my child?"

    Context: It is commonly believed Julius Caesar's last words were, "Et tu, Brute?" upon realizing Brutus was among the senators that assassinated him. However, Suetonius, an ancient Roman historian, lists Caesar's final words as, "You too, my child?" 

    The myth likely stems from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, in which the dictator utters the famous line to Brutus while under attack.

    The distinction between "child" and "Brutus" is an important one. One historian notes that it wasn't Marcus Junius Brutus whom Caesar loved as a son, but Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus. If true, this would mean Caesar was calling out to someone else entirely as he was dying. 

    • Age: Dec. at 35 (12 BC-23)
    • Birthplace: Rome, Italy
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  • Photo: After Jean-Baptiste André Gautier-Dagoty / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    Last Words: "Pardon me, sir, I meant not to do it." 

    Context: Marie Antoinette was indicted in August 1793 and implored the prosecutor to not make her "suffer long." However, she spent two-and-a-half months imprisoned before her eventual execution. Despite an attempt to rescue her known as the Carnation Affair, Marie Antoinette's fate had long been sealed. 

    On October 16, 1793, Marie Antoinette made her way to the guillotine. Moments before her death, she stepped on the executioner's foot, prompting her final words.

    • Age: Dec. at 37 (1755-1793)
    • Birthplace: Europe, Austria, Vienna, Hofburg Palace, Central Europe
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  • Photo: Carl Pietzner / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    Last Words: "It is nothing."

    Context: The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand is pointed to as the breaking point that kickstarted World War I. Earlier that day, Ferdinand survived another assassination attempt and later decided to visit the victims of that attack. The confusion surrounding this change of plan ultimately put him right into the hands of his assassin

    When asked how badly he was hurt, Ferdinand replied, "It is nothing," and repeated that phrase several times as he grew weaker. Despite several doctors rushing to save Ferdinand and his wife, neither could be saved. 

    • Age: Dec. at 50 (1863-1914)
    • Birthplace: Graz, Austria
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