The broad definition of regicide (Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 regis "of king" + cida "killer" or cidium "killing") is the deliberate killing of a monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

, or the person responsible for the killing of a monarch. In a narrower sense, in the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 tradition, it refers to the judicial execution of a king after a trial
A trial is, in the most general sense, a test, usually a test to see whether something does or does not meet a given standard.It may refer to:*Trial , the presentation of information in a formal setting, usually a court...

. More broadly, it can also refer to the killing of an emperor
An emperor is a monarch, usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife or a woman who rules in her own right...


The regicide of Mary, Queen of Scots

Before the Tudor
Tudor dynasty
The Tudor dynasty or House of Tudor was a European royal house of Welsh origin that ruled the Kingdom of England and its realms, including the Lordship of Ireland, later the Kingdom of Ireland, from 1485 until 1603. Its first monarch was Henry Tudor, a descendant through his mother of a legitimised...

 period, English kings had been murdered while imprisoned (for example Edward II
Edward II of England
Edward II , called Edward of Caernarfon, was King of England from 1307 until he was deposed by his wife Isabella in January 1327. He was the sixth Plantagenet king, in a line that began with the reign of Henry II...

 or Edward V
Edward V of England
Edward V was King of England from 9 April 1483 until his deposition two months later. His reign was dominated by the influence of his uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who succeeded him as Richard III...

) or killed in battle by their subjects (for example Richard III
Richard III of England
Richard III was King of England for two years, from 1483 until his death in 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty...

), but none of these deaths are usually referred to as regicide. The word regicide seems to have come into popular use among foreign Catholics
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 when Pope Sixtus V
Pope Sixtus V
Pope Sixtus V , born Felice Peretti di Montalto, was Pope from 1585 to 1590.-Early life:The chronicler Andrija Zmajević states that Felice's family originated from modern-day Montenegro...

 renewed the solemn bull
Papal bull
A Papal bull is a particular type of letters patent or charter issued by a Pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the bulla that was appended to the end in order to authenticate it....

 of excommunication
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

 against the "crowned regicide" Queen Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

, for executing Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1587 among other things. She had originally been excommunicated (Regnans in Excelsis
Regnans in Excelsis
Regnans in Excelsis was a papal bull issued on 25 February 1570 by Pope Pius V declaring "Elizabeth, the pretended Queen of England and the servant of crime" to be a heretic and releasing all her subjects from any allegiance to her and excommunicating any that obeyed her orders.The bull, written in...

) by Pope Pius V
Pope Pius V
Pope Saint Pius V , born Antonio Ghislieri , was Pope from 1566 to 1572 and is a saint of the Catholic Church. He is chiefly notable for his role in the Council of Trent, the Counter-Reformation, and the standardization of the Roman liturgy within the Latin Church...

 for converting England to Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 after the reign of Mary I of England
Mary I of England
Mary I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death.She was the only surviving child born of the ill-fated marriage of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Her younger half-brother, Edward VI, succeeded Henry in 1547...

 (Bloody Mary). The defeat of the Spanish Armada
Spanish Armada
This article refers to the Battle of Gravelines, for the modern navy of Spain, see Spanish NavyThe Spanish Armada was the Spanish fleet that sailed against England under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia in 1588, with the intention of overthrowing Elizabeth I of England to stop English...

 and the "Protestant Wind
Protestant Wind
The phrase Protestant Wind has been used in more than one context, notably:#The storm that lashed the Spanish Armada. According to Protestant propaganda, the wind wrecked the Spanish fleet and thus saved England from invasion by the army of Philip II of Spain...

" convinced most English people that God approved of Elizabeth's action.

The regicide of Charles I of England

After the First English Civil War, King Charles I
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

 was a prisoner of the Parliamentarian
"Roundhead" was the nickname given to the supporters of the Parliament during the English Civil War. Also known as Parliamentarians, they fought against King Charles I and his supporters, the Cavaliers , who claimed absolute power and the divine right of kings...

s. They tried to negotiate a compromise with him, but he stuck steadfastly to his view that he was King by Divine Right
Divine Right of Kings
The divine right of kings or divine-right theory of kingship is a political and religious doctrine of royal and political legitimacy. It asserts that a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving his right to rule directly from the will of God...

 and attempted in secret to raise an army to fight against them. It became obvious to the leaders of the Parliamentarians that they could not negotiate a settlement with him and they could not trust him to refrain from raising an army against them, they reluctantly came to the conclusion that they would have to kill him. On 13 December 1648, the House of Commons broke off negotiations with the King. Two days later, the Council of Officers of the New Model Army
New Model Army
The New Model Army of England was formed in 1645 by the Parliamentarians in the English Civil War, and was disbanded in 1660 after the Restoration...

 voted that the King be moved from the Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight is a county and the largest island of England, located in the English Channel, on average about 2–4 miles off the south coast of the county of Hampshire, separated from the mainland by a strait called the Solent...

, where he was prisoner, to Windsor
Windsor, Berkshire
Windsor is an affluent suburban town and unparished area in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire, England. It is widely known as the site of Windsor Castle, one of the official residences of the British Royal Family....

 "in order to the bringing of him speedily to justice". In the middle of December, the King was moved from Windsor to London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

. The House of Commons
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

 of the Rump Parliament
Rump Parliament
The Rump Parliament is the name of the English Parliament after Colonel Pride purged the Long Parliament on 6 December 1648 of those members hostile to the Grandees' intention to try King Charles I for high treason....

 passed a Bill setting up a High Court of Justice in order to try Charles I for high treason
High treason
High treason is criminal disloyalty to one's government. Participating in a war against one's native country, attempting to overthrow its government, spying on its military, its diplomats, or its secret services for a hostile and foreign power, or attempting to kill its head of state are perhaps...

 in the name of the people of England. From a Royalist and post-restoration perspective this Bill was not lawful, since the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

 refused to pass it and it failed to receive Royal Assent
Royal Assent
The granting of royal assent refers to the method by which any constitutional monarch formally approves and promulgates an act of his or her nation's parliament, thus making it a law...

. However, the Parliamentary leaders and the Army pressed on with the trial anyway.

At his trial in front of The High Court of Justice on Saturday 20 January 1649 in Westminster Hall, Charles asked "I would know by what power I am called hither. I would know by what authority, I mean lawful". In view of the historic issues involved, both sides based themselves on surprisingly technical legal grounds. Charles did not dispute that Parliament as a whole did have some judicial powers, but he maintained that the House of Commons on its own could not try anybody, and so he refused to plead. At that time under English law
English law
English law is the legal system of England and Wales, and is the basis of common law legal systems used in most Commonwealth countries and the United States except Louisiana...

 if a prisoner refused to plead then this was treated as a plea of guilty. (This has since been changed; a refusal to plead now is interpreted as a not-guilty plea.)

He was found guilty on Saturday 27 January 1649, and his death warrant was signed by 59 Commissioners. To show their agreement with the sentence of death, all of the Commissioners who were present rose to their feet.

On the day of his execution, 30 January 1649, Charles dressed in two shirts so that he would not shiver from the cold, in case it was said that he was shivering from fear. His execution was delayed by several hours so that the House of Commons could pass an emergency bill to make it an offence to proclaim a new King, and to declare the representatives of the people, the House of Commons, as the source of all just power. Charles was then escorted through the Banqueting House
Banqueting House
In Tudor and Early Stuart English architecture a banqueting house is a separate building reached through pleasure gardens from the main residence, whose use is purely for entertaining. It may be raised for additional air or a vista, and it may be richly decorated, but it contains no bedrooms or...

 in the Palace of Whitehall
Palace of Whitehall
The Palace of Whitehall was the main residence of the English monarchs in London from 1530 until 1698 when all except Inigo Jones's 1622 Banqueting House was destroyed by fire...

 to a scaffold. He forgave those who had passed sentence on him and gave instructions to his enemies that they should learn to "know their duty to God, the King - that is, my successors - and the people". He then gave a brief speech outlining his unchanged views of the relationship between the monarchy and the monarch's subjects, ending with the words "I am the martyr of the people". His head was severed from his body with one blow.

One week later, the Rump, sitting in the House of Commons, passed a bill abolishing the monarchy. Ardent Royalists refused to accept it on the basis that there could never be a vacancy of the Crown. Others refused because, as the bill had not passed the House of Lords and did not have Royal Assent, it could not become an Act of Parliament.

The Declaration of Breda
Declaration of Breda
The Declaration of Breda was a proclamation by Charles II of England in which he promised a general pardon for crimes committed during the English Civil War and the Interregnum for all those who recognised Charles as the lawful king; the retention by the current owners of property purchased during...

 11 years later paved the way for the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. At the restoration
English Restoration
The Restoration of the English monarchy began in 1660 when the English, Scottish and Irish monarchies were all restored under Charles II after the Interregnum that followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms...

, thirty-one of the fifty-nine Commissioners who had signed the death warrant were living. A general pardon
Indemnity and Oblivion Act
The Indemnity and Oblivion Act 1660 is an Act of the Parliament of England , the long title of which is "An Act of Free and General Pardon, Indemnity, and Oblivion"....

 was given by Charles II
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

 and Parliament to his opponents, but the regicides were excluded. A number fled the country. Some, such as Daniel Blagrave
Daniel Blagrave
Daniel Blagrave was a prominent resident of the town of Reading, in the English county of Berkshire. He was Member of Parliament for the Parliamentary Borough of Reading over several periods between 1640 and 1660, and was also one of the signatories of King Charles I's death warrant.Daniel...

, fled to continental Europe, while others like John Dixwell
John Dixwell
John Dixwell was one of the judges who tried King Charles I of England and condemned him to death.-Biography:He was the younger son of Edgar Dixwell, but was raised by his uncle Basil Dixwell of Broome Park, near Canterbury in Kent...

, Edward Whalley
Edward Whalley
Edward Whalley was an English military leader during the English Civil War, and was one of the regicides who signed the death warrant of King Charles I of England.-Early career:The exact dates of his birth and death are unknown...

, and William Goffe
William Goffe
William Goffe was an English Roundhead politician and soldier, perhaps best known for his role in the execution of King Charles I and later flight to America.-Early life:...

 fled to New Haven, Connecticut
New Haven, Connecticut
New Haven is the second-largest city in Connecticut and the sixth-largest in New England. According to the 2010 Census, New Haven's population increased by 5.0% between 2000 and 2010, a rate higher than that of the State of Connecticut, and higher than that of the state's five largest cities, and...

. Those who were still available were put on trial. Six regicides were found guilty and suffered the fate of being hanged, drawn and quartered
Hanged, drawn and quartered
To be hanged, drawn and quartered was from 1351 a penalty in England for men convicted of high treason, although the ritual was first recorded during the reigns of King Henry III and his successor, Edward I...

: Thomas Harrison, John Jones
John Jones Maesygarnedd
Colonel John Jones was a Welsh military leader, politician and one of the regicides of King Charles I. A brother-in-law of Oliver Cromwell, Jones was born at Llanbedr in North Wales and is often surnamed Jones Maesygarnedd after the location of his Merionethshire estate. Jones spoke Welsh with his...

, Adrian Scroope, John Carew
John Carew (regicide)
John Carew , from Antony, Cornwall, was one of the regicides of King Charles I.Elected MP for Tregony in 1647, he was a prominent member of the Fifth Monarchy Men who saw the overthrow of Charles I as a divine sign of the second coming of Jesus and the establishment of the millennium a thousand...

, Thomas Scot
Thomas Scot
Thomas Scot was an English Member of Parliament and one of the regicides of King Charles I.- Early life :In 1626 Thomas Scot married Alice Allinson of Chesterford in Essex. He was a lawyer in Buckinghamshire and grew to prominence as the treasurer of the region’s County Committee between 1644 to...

, and Gregory Clement
Gregory Clement
Gregory Clement was an English Member of Parliament and one of the regicides of King Charles I.Clement was the son of John Clement, a merchant and one time Mayor of Plymouth. After working in India for the British East India Company, Clement returned to London and on outbreak of the Civil War...

. The captain of the guard at the trial, Daniel Axtell
Daniel Axtell
Colonel Daniel Axtell was Captain of the Parliamentary Guard at the trial of King Charles I at Westminster Hall in 1649. Shortly after the Restoration he was hanged, drawn and quartered as a regicide....

 who encouraged his men to barrack the King when he tried to speak in his own defence, an influential preacher Hugh Peters
Hugh Peters
Hugh Peters [or Peter] was an English preacher.-Early life:He was baptized on 29 June 1598 in Fowey, and was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge....

, and the leading prosecutor at the trial John Cook
John Cook (regicide)
John Cook , was the first Solicitor General of the English Commonwealth and led the prosecution of Charles I...

 were executed in a similar manner. Colonel Francis Hacker
Francis Hacker
Colonel Francis Hacker was an English soldier who fought for Parliament during the English Civil War and one of the Regicides of King Charles I of England....

 who signed the order to the executioner of the king and commanded the guard around the scaffold and at the trial was hanged. Some regicides, such as Richard Ingoldsby
Richard Ingoldsby
Colonel Sir Richard Ingoldsby was an English officer in the New Model Army during the English Civil War and a politician who sat in the House of Commons variously between 1647 and 1685...

 were pardoned, while a further nineteen served life imprisonment. The bodies of the regicides Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader who overthrew the English monarchy and temporarily turned England into a republican Commonwealth, and served as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland....

, Bradshaw
John Bradshaw (judge)
John Bradshaw was an English judge. He is most notable for his role as President of the High Court of Justice for the trial of King Charles I and as the first Lord President of the Council of State of the English Commonwealth....

 and Ireton
Henry Ireton
Henry Ireton was an English general in the Parliamentary army during the English Civil War. He was the son-in-law of Oliver Cromwell.-Early life:...

 which had been buried in Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

 were disinterred and hanged, drawn and quartered in posthumous executions. In 1662, three more regicides John Okey
John Okey
John Okey was an English soldier, member of Parliament, and one of the regicides of King Charles I.-Early life and military career:...

, John Barkstead
John Barkstead
John Barkstead was an English Major-General and Regicide.Barkstead was a goldsmith in London; captain of parliamentary infantry under Colonel Venn; governor of Reading, 1645: commanded regiment at siege of Colchester; one of the king's judges, 1648; governor of Yarmouth, 1649, and of the Tower,...

 and Miles Corbet
Miles Corbet
Miles Corbet was an English politician, recorder of Yarmouth and Regicide.-Life:He was the son of Sir Thomas Corbet of Sprowston, Norfolk and the younger brother of Sir John Corbet, 1st Baronet, MP for Great Yarmouth from 1625 to 1629...

 were also hanged, drawn and quartered. The officers of the court that tried Charles I, those who prosecuted him and those who signed his death warrant, have been known ever since the restoration as regicides.

The Parliamentary Archives in the Palace of Westminster, London, holds the original death warrant of Charles I.

Other regicides

Under the definition of a regicide in common usage in England, there have been two other such events since 1649: the execution of Louis XVI of France
Louis XVI of France
Louis XVI was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre until 1791, and then as King of the French from 1791 to 1792, before being executed in 1793....

 in 1793, after sentence of death by the National Convention and Maximilian I of Mexico
Maximilian I of Mexico
Maximilian I was the only monarch of the Second Mexican Empire.After a distinguished career in the Austrian Navy, he was proclaimed Emperor of Mexico on April 10, 1864, with the backing of Napoleon III of France and a group of Mexican monarchists who sought to revive the Mexican monarchy...

 in 1867 by a Mexican court-martial
A court-martial is a military court. A court-martial is empowered to determine the guilt of members of the armed forces subject to military law, and, if the defendant is found guilty, to decide upon punishment.Most militaries maintain a court-martial system to try cases in which a breach of...

Since Pope Sixtus V
Pope Sixtus V
Pope Sixtus V , born Felice Peretti di Montalto, was Pope from 1585 to 1590.-Early life:The chronicler Andrija Zmajević states that Felice's family originated from modern-day Montenegro...

 gave his broader definition of regicide and excluding monarchs killed in battle, other regicides include:
  1. 1589 Henry III of France
    Henry III of France
    Henry III was King of France from 1574 to 1589. As Henry of Valois, he was the first elected monarch of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with the dual titles of King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1573 to 1575.-Childhood:Henry was born at the Royal Château de Fontainebleau,...

     by Jacques Clément
    Jacques Clément
    Jacques Clément was the assassin of the French king Henry III.He was born at Serbonnes, in today's Yonne département, in Burgundy, and became a Dominican lay brother....

  2. 1610 Henry IV of France
    Henry IV of France
    Henry IV , Henri-Quatre, was King of France from 1589 to 1610 and King of Navarre from 1572 to 1610. He was the first monarch of the Bourbon branch of the Capetian dynasty in France....

     by François Ravaillac
    François Ravaillac
    François Ravaillac was a French factotum in the courts of Angoulême and a regicide. A sometime tutor and Catholic zealot, he murdered King Henry IV of France in 1610.-Early life and education:...

  3. 1622 Osman II
    Osman II
    Sultan Osman II or Othman II was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1618 until his death on 20 May 1622...

     of the Ottoman Empire by the Grand Vizier Davud Pasha
  4. 1792 Gustav III of Sweden
    Gustav III of Sweden
    Gustav III was King of Sweden from 1771 until his death. He was the eldest son of King Adolph Frederick and Queen Louise Ulrica of Sweden, she a sister of Frederick the Great of Prussia....

     by Jacob Johan Anckarström
    Jacob Johan Anckarström
    Jacob Johan Anckarström was a Swedish military officer who was convicted and executed for regicide. He was the son of Jacob Johan Anckarström the Elder. He served as a captain in King Gustav III's regiment between 1778 and 1783...

  5. 1801 Emperor Paul of Russia by Count Pahlen and his accomplices
  6. 1828 Shaka
    Shaka kaSenzangakhona , also known as Shaka Zulu , was the most influential leader of the Zulu Kingdom....

     King of the Zulus
    Zulu Kingdom
    The Zulu Kingdom, sometimes referred to as the Zulu Empire or, rather imprecisely, Zululand, was a monarchy in Southern Africa that extended along the coast of the Indian Ocean from the Tugela River in the south to Pongola River in the north....

     by his half-brother and successor Dingane
    Dingane kaSenzangakhona Zulu —commonly referred to as Dingane or Dingaan—was a Zulu chief who became king of the Zulu Kingdom in 1828...

     and accomplices
  7. 1881 Alexander II of Russia
    Alexander II of Russia
    Alexander II , also known as Alexander the Liberator was the Emperor of the Russian Empire from 3 March 1855 until his assassination in 1881...

     by Ignacy Hryniewiecki
    Ignacy Hryniewiecki
    Ignaty Gryniewietsky , 1856 – 13 March 1881) was a member of the People's Will and the assassin of Tsar Alexander II of Russia.-Early life:...

    , a member of Narodnaya Volya (People's Will)
  8. 1895 Min of Joseon by three mercenary killers allegedly hired by Japanese minister to Korea
    Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

     Miura Goro
  9. 1896 Nasser al-Din Shah
    Nasser al-Din Shah
    Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar was the King of Iran from September 17, 1848 to May 1, 1896 when he was assassinated. He was the son of Mohammad Shah Qajar and Malek Jahan Khanom, Mahd-e Olia and the third longest reigning monarch king in Iranian history after Shapur II of the Sassanid Dynasty and...

    , Qajar king of Persia (Iran
    Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

    ), by Mirza Reza Kermani.
  10. 1898 Empress Elisabeth of Austria by Luigi Lucheni an insane anarchist in Geneva.
  11. 1900 Umberto I of Italy
    Umberto I of Italy
    Umberto I or Humbert I , nicknamed the Good , was the King of Italy from 9 January 1878 until his death. He was deeply loathed in far-left circles, especially among anarchists, because of his conservatism and support of the Bava-Beccaris massacre in Milan...

     by anarchist Gaetano Bresci
    Gaetano Bresci
    Gaetano Bresci was an Italian American anarchist who assassinated King Umberto I of Italy. Bresci was the first European regicide not to be executed, as capital punishment in Italy had been abolished since 1889.-Militancy:...

  12. 1903 Alexander I of Serbia and his wife Queen Draga
    Queen Draga
    Draga Obrenović , also known as Queen Draga, was the queen and wife of King Aleksandar Obrenović of the Kingdom of Serbia...

     by a group of army officers.
  13. 1908 Carlos I of Portugal
    Carlos I of Portugal
    -Assassination:On 1 February 1908 the royal family returned from the palace of Vila Viçosa to Lisbon. They travelled by train to Barreiro and, from there, they took a steamer to cross the Tagus River and disembarked at Cais do Sodré in central Lisbon. On their way to the royal palace, the open...

     by Alfredo Costa and Manuel Buiça
    Manuel Buiça
    Manuel dos Reis da Silva Buíça , was Portuguese schoolteacher, former cavalry Sergeant, and excellent marksman involved with Alfredo Costa in the regicide of King Carlos I of Portugal and the Prince Royal, Luis Filipe, during the events that became known as the 1908 Lisbon Regicide .-Biography:Son of...

    , both connected to the Carbonária
    The Carbonária was originally an anti-clerical, revolutionary, conspiratorial society, originally established in Portugal in 1822 but soon disbanded. It was allied with the Italian Carbonari. A new organization of the same name and claiming to be its continuation was founded in 1896 by Artur...

     (the Portuguese section of the Carbonari
    The Carbonari were groups of secret revolutionary societies founded in early 19th-century Italy. The Italian Carbonari may have further influenced other revolutionary groups in Spain, France, Portugal and possibly Russia. Although their goals often had a patriotic and liberal focus, they lacked a...

  14. 1913 George I of Greece
    George I of Greece
    George I was King of Greece from 1863 to 1913. Originally a Danish prince, George was only 17 years old when he was elected king by the Greek National Assembly, which had deposed the former king Otto. His nomination was both suggested and supported by the Great Powers...

     by Alexandros Schinas
    Alexandros Schinas
    Alexandros Schinas , was a Greek anarchist who assassinated King George I of Greece in Thessaloniki in 1913....

  15. 1918 Nicholas II of Russia
    Nicholas II of Russia
    Nicholas II was the last Emperor of Russia, Grand Prince of Finland, and titular King of Poland. His official short title was Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias and he is known as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer by the Russian Orthodox Church.Nicholas II ruled from 1894 until...

     and the Imperial Family executed
    Shooting of the Romanov family
    The shooting of the Romanov family, of the Russian Imperial House of Romanov, and those who chose to accompany them into exile, Dr. Eugene Botkin, Anna Demidova, Alexei Trupp, and Ivan Kharitonov, took place in Yekaterinburg on July 17, 1918 on the orders of Vladimir Lenin, Yakov Sverdlov, and the...

     by a Bolshevik
    The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

     firing squad under the command of Yakov Yurovsky
    Yakov Yurovsky
    Yakov Mikhaylovich Yurovsky was an Old Bolshevik best known as the chief executioner of Russia's last Tsar, Nicholas II and his family in 1918, during the Russian Civil War.- Early life :...

  16. 1934 Alexander I of Yugoslavia
    Alexander I of Yugoslavia
    Alexander I , also known as Alexander the Unifier was the first king of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia as well as the last king of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes .-Childhood:...

     by Vlado Chernozemski
    Vlado Chernozemski
    Vlado Chernozemski , born Velichko Dimitrov Kerin , was a Bulgarian revolutionary.Chernozemski also entered the region of Vardar Macedonia with IMRO bands and participated in more than 15 battles with the Serbian police....

    , a member of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization
  17. 1946 Ananda Mahidol of Thailand. The King's death is still a mystery and may have been either regicide or suicide
    Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

    . The subject is never openly discussed in Thailand.
  18. 1958 Faisal II of Iraq
    Faisal II of Iraq
    Faisal II was the last King of Iraq. He reigned from 4 April 1939 until July 1958, when he was killed during the "14 July Revolution" together with several members of his family...

     executed by firing squad under the command of Captain Abdus Sattar As Sab, a member of the coup d'état
    Coup d'état
    A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

     led by Colonel Abdul Karim Qassim
    Abdul Karim Qassim
    Abd al-Karim Qasim , was a nationalist Iraqi Army general who seized power in a 1958 coup d'état, wherein the Iraqi monarchy was eliminated. He ruled the country as Prime Minister of Iraq until his downfall and death in 1963....

  19. 1975 Faisal of Saudi Arabia
    Faisal of Saudi Arabia
    Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud was King of Saudi Arabia from 1964 to 1975. As king, he is credited with rescuing the country's finances and implementing a policy of modernization and reform, while his main foreign policy themes were pan-Islamic Nationalism, anti-Communism, and pro-Palestinian...

     by his nephew Faisal bin Musa'id (Assassin publicly beheaded)
  20. 2001 Birendra of Nepal
    Birendra of Nepal
    Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev was a King of Nepal. The son of King Mahendra, whom he succeeded in 1972, he reigned until his death in the 2001 Nepalese royal massacre...

     by his son Crown Prince Dipendra
    Dipendra of Nepal
    Dipendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev was a member of the Nepalese Royal Family, who briefly reigned in coma as King of Nepal from the 1st of June to the 4th of June, 2001...

     in the massacre of the Nepalese royal family
    Nepalese royal massacre
    The Nepalese royal massacre occurred on Friday, June 1, 2001, at a house in the grounds of the Narayanhity Royal Palace, then the residence of the Nepalese monarchy, when the heir to the throne, Prince Dipendra killed nine members of his family and himself. However, it hasn't been proven that...

    ; Dipendra proceeded to commit suicide
    Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

     without having been crowned king.

Regicides as murders

Regicide has particular resonance within the concept of the Divine Right of Kings
Divine Right of Kings
The divine right of kings or divine-right theory of kingship is a political and religious doctrine of royal and political legitimacy. It asserts that a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving his right to rule directly from the will of God...

, whereby monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

s were presumed by decision of God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 to have a divinely anointed authority to rule. As such, an attack on a king by one of his own subjects was taken to amount to a direct challenge to the monarch, to his Divine Right to Rule, and thus to God's will. Even after the disappearance of the Divine Right of Kings and the appearance of constitutional monarchies
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

, the term continued and continues to be used to describe the murder
Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

 of a king.

In France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, the judicial penalty for regicides (i.e. those who had murdered, or attempted to murder, the King) was especially hard, even in regard to the harsh judicial practices of pre-revolutionary
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 France. As with many criminals, the regicide was torture
Torture is the act of inflicting severe pain as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing information or a confession, or simply as an act of cruelty. Throughout history, torture has often been used as a method of political re-education, interrogation, punishment, and coercion...

d so as to make him tell the names of his accomplices. However, the method of execution itself was a form of torture. Here is a description of the death of Robert-François Damiens
Robert-François Damiens
Robert-François Damiens was a French domestic servant whose attempted assassination of King Louis XV of France in 1757 culminated in his notorious and controversial public execution...

, who attempted to kill Louis XV
Louis XV of France
Louis XV was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and of Navarre from 1 September 1715 until his death. He succeeded his great-grandfather at the age of five, his first cousin Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, served as Regent of the kingdom until Louis's majority in 1723...


In common with earlier executions for regicides:
  • the hand that attempted the murder is burnt
  • the regicide is dismembered alive.

In both the François Ravaillac
François Ravaillac
François Ravaillac was a French factotum in the courts of Angoulême and a regicide. A sometime tutor and Catholic zealot, he murdered King Henry IV of France in 1610.-Early life and education:...

 and the Damiens cases, court papers refer to the offenders as a patricide
Patricide is the act of killing one's father, or a person who kills his or her father. The word patricide derives from the Latin word pater and the Latin suffix -cida...

, rather than as regicide, which lets one deduce that, through divine right, the king was also regarded as "Father of the country".

See also

  • Fifth Monarchists
    Fifth Monarchists
    The Fifth Monarchists or Fifth Monarchy Men were active from 1649 to 1661 during the Interregnum, following the English Civil Wars of the 17th century. They took their name from a prophecy in the Book of Daniel that four ancient monarchies would precede Christ's return...

     saw the overthrow of Charles I as a divine sign of the second coming of Jesus.
  • Society of King Charles the Martyr
    Society of King Charles the Martyr
    The Society of King Charles the Martyr is an Anglican devotional society and one of the Catholic Societies of the Church of England. It is dedicated to and under the patronage of King Charles I of England , the only person to be canonised by the Church of...

  • Patricide
    Patricide is the act of killing one's father, or a person who kills his or her father. The word patricide derives from the Latin word pater and the Latin suffix -cida...

     (killing of one's father)
  • Tyrannicide
    Tyrannicide literally means the killing of a tyrant, or one who has committed the act. Typically, the term is taken to mean the killing or assassination of tyrants for the common good. The term "tyrannicide" does not apply to tyrants killed in battle or killed by an enemy in an armed conflict...

    (killing of a tyrant)

Further reading

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