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Top 10 strangest royal deaths in history

Friday 29 Apr 2011 1:00p.m.

Top 10 strangest royal deaths in history

By Dan Satherley

Not a fan of the royal wedding hype? Planning on staying home tonight, TV off, Sex Pistols and the Smiths on the stereo?

Well this article is for you - it's the top 10 strangest royal deaths in history

There's red hot pokers, zombies, monkeys and uncontrollable laughter, only one of which is likely to strike whilst you read this list. If you're lucky.

MARTIN OF ARAGON, 1410 – DEATH BY LAUGHTER

Martin had so many titles, it wasn't funny. Not only was he king of Aragon, but of Valencia, Sardinia, Corsica and Sicily, and just for laughs, Count of Barcelona.

He is said to have died from a combination of uncontrollable laughter and the always-hilarious severe indigestion.

LOUIS III OF FRANCE, 882 – DEATH BY HORNY

Louis III became king of France when he was 16 years old, so it's no surprise his short reign consisted largely of trying to get some action and fighting Vikings, just like modern teenagers.

It was doing the former that killed him though, hitting his head on a doorway and falling off his horse whilst chasing a woman.

FREDERICK, PRINCE OF WALES, 1751 – DEATH BY CRICKET

I know what you're thinking – he died of boredom. This was the 1700s though, so cricket was probably played with elephant bones for bats and slaves' heads for balls.

Whatever they were made of, one hit poor Frederick in the head. His mother and father wouldn't have cared – Queen Caroline said Frederick was "the greatest ass, the greatest liar, the greatest canaille and the greatest beast in the world", and his father called him a "changeling".

So he would have made an excellent Australian captain, then.

WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR – DEATH BY... SURPRISE!

William the Conqueror was born 'William the Bastard', and that's how he went out.

His death was relatively normal by medieval standards – falling off his horse – but it's what happened afterwards that got him on this list.

The balmy weather had bloated William's body to the point where it wouldn't fit in the sarcophagus. A group of bishops tried forcing him into it, and… you've seen that Monty Python sketch with the fat guy, Mr Creosote, pigging out in the restaurant? Yeah…

William's abdomen ruptured, causing a medieval-strength fart explosion so strong, scholars of the time thought it worthy of writing down.

ALEXANDER OF GREECE, 1920 – DEATH BY MONKEY

Not the Alexander we all know and love, this Alexander ruled Greece from 1917 to 1920 and didn't really do diddly, except get bitten by a monkey and earn his place on this list.

HEROD THE GREAT, 4BCE – DEATH BY WORMS

There's this crazy parasite called the guinea worm, which is terrifying enough without imagining it coming out of your privates, which is close to what happened to Herod.

Historian Josephus called it "Herod's Evil", and according to accounts, was caused by a mixture of kidney disease, gangrene and scabies.

It was described by Josephus as "excruciatingly painful", but not quite as painful Rebecca Black's 'Friday' [citation needed].

SIGURD EYSTEINSSON THE MIGHTY, 892 – DEATH BY ZOMBIE

Vikings and zombies? If this list was numbered, this would be number one.

Earl Sigurd was a Viking leader who challenged his mortal enemy, Mael Brigte, to a 40-man-a-side battle, 'cause Vikings don't do duels. Being a Viking, Sigurd cheated and brought along 80 men, easily defeating the buck-toothed Brigte.

He strapped the severed head of his vanquished foe to the saddle of his horse and rode off, but Zombie Brigte's teeth scratched and bit his leg as he rode, causing an infection which killed poor Sigurd. He's now hanging in Asgard with Eric.

GEORGE PLANTAGENET, DUKE OF CLARENCE, 1478 – DEATH BY WINE

After a family dispute so convoluted his story forms part of the plot of Shakespeare's Richard III, it was decided by the powers that be that George had to go.

But unlike many of the poor victims of those featured in my 'Top 10 craziest royals in history' list, George got to choose his method of execution.

So like any man with a severely dysfunctional family, he opted for booze – almost 500 litres of wine, to be exact – and went out like any true rock star from Mars should.

GEORGE HERBERT, EARL OF CARNARVON, 1923 – DEATH BY CURSE

When an ancient Egyptian pharaoh says, 'Don't mess with my tomb,' you don't mess with his tomb. Lord Carnarvon messed with King Tut's tomb, and suffered the most horrific death on this list.

No, not really, He cut himself whilst shaving over an infected mosquito bite on his cheek. King Tut might have been flashy and extravagant in life, but in death is refreshingly practical. Aside from the pyramids, tombs and all that.

EDWARD II OF ENGLAND, 1327 – DEATH BY IRON

Red hot iron, to be precise. Stuck up his arse, to be painfully more specific. On order from none other than his wife. Yeaouch.

Some accounts though state his death was just a boring, run-of-the-mill strangling.

So the arse-poker story really is only a rumour, if you're going to get anal about it.

 
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