10 Unsolved Royal Crimes from Around the World

by Shweta Anand2 years ago
Picture 10 Unsolved Royal Crimes from Around the World

Most royal families around the world are held to a higher standard than other celebrities. This often comes with strict rules of conduct and a severe lack of privacy in their lives, especially because their citizens are deeply invested in their every move. Despite this, there are some well-kept royal secrets that are yet to be revealed to the public. So, for the curious sleuths among you, here are ten unsolved royal crimes from around the world. 

1 On 13 June 1886, the “Mad King,” Ludwig II of Bavaria, was found dead in a lake along with his psychiatrist. Although their deaths were reported as a suicide by drowning, autopsy has revealed that it may have been a murder. However, few people have actually challenged the official stance and these deaths remain highly debated even today. 

Ludwig II of Bavaria
Ludwig II of Bavaria. Image credit:- Joszef Koppay via Robertsan1/wikimedia.org

In 1886, the “Mad King,” Ludwig II of Bavaria, was forcibly dethroned on grounds of insanity. The King had long drawn the scorn of the nobility with rumors of his homosexuality. Also, with his extravagant spendings on fairytale castles, the government was more than eager to depose him. Soon, a team led by the German psychiatrist Dr. Bernhard von Gudden declared him unfit to rule.

Three days later, on 13 June, Ludwig II and von Gudden were found dead in a lake after the duo was last seen taking a stroll through the palace gardens. The Bavarian government was also quick to declare this a suicidal drowning. 

But according to the autopsy, there had been no water in Ludwig II’s lungs, suggesting that he had died before entering the lake. To add to the mystery, the doctor’s body had clear signs of being attacked. However, no one has challenged the official stance on their deaths despite the suspicious circumstances around it. (1, 2)


2 Mary, Queen of Scots, and the Earl of Bothwell are said to have murdered the Queen’s husband, Lord Darnley, before marrying each other just three months later. Although Bothwell was arrested for the crime, he was later found not guilty. It is believed that Lord Darnley was assassinated so that the Queen wouldn’t have to divorce him and risk having her children declared illegitimate.

Lord Darnley and Mary
Lord Darnley (on the left) and Mary (on the right). Image credit:- William Ridley/npg.org.uk, Blairs Museum Trust via nms.ac.uk

On 9 February 1567, Lord Darnley was murdered in the backstreets of Edinburgh by unknown assailants. A trail of gunpowder was also lit in the cellar of the house he was in, reducing it to rubble. At the time, he was married to Mary, Queen of Scots, and suspicions soon arose that she had conspired with the Earl of Bothwell whom she ended up marrying just three months later. 

Since Queen Mary was a Catholic, she was against the idea of divorce, especially because it would make her children illegitimate. Since this would leave her without an heir, it is said that she asked for a way to maintain her honor but also be free of her marriage.

This is where Bothwell and his men likely came up with the idea to murder Lord Darnley. However, perhaps because there wasn’t enough evidence of this, Bothwell was declared not guilty of the charges laid on him. (1, 2)


3 In 2009, an alleged assassination attempt of Queen Elizabeth II was reported by the Australian media, causing much uproar. According to this report, the Queen and her husband were traveling through New South Wales when their train was blocked by a log of wood that could have potentially derailed them. The case had also been closed with no charges ever filed, leading to some speculation on the truth behind this incident. 

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. Image credit:- Shutterstock

Nearly 50 years ago, in 1970, there was an alleged assassination attempt of Queen Elizabeth II that went unreported due to political reasons. At the time, the Queen and Prince Philip were on tour in Australia and traveling by train through New South Wales.

In a rather unsophisticated plan, someone had blocked the train tracks with a huge wooden log to derail the train. Fortunately, this did not work because the train had been traveling rather slowly. Officials also noted that when a sweeper train had passed through the area just an hour before, it had not encountered any obstacles. 

This news was not made public until 2009, when an Australian policeman spoke to the media, revealing the truth. However, Buckingham Palace stated that according to its records, no such incident had ever occurred. To this day, the Queen is said to be in the dark about this incident, and it is unknown who the alleged perpetrators were. (1, 2)


4 On 31 May 1810, the Duke of Cumberland was attacked in his bed chambers by an unknown assailant. The severely injured Duke somehow managed to call for help, alerting the household to the assassination attempt. Later, the Duke’s valet, Joseph Sellis, was found with his throat slit in his room, launching numerous theories on the identity of the assailant that are still debated today. 

The Duke of Cumberland
The Duke of Cumberland. Image credit:- Shutterstock

During the early hours of 31 May 1810, the Duke of Cumberland was attacked by a hidden assailant in his bed chambers. The sleeping Duke was woken by someone hitting him over the head with the blunt edge of a sword.

In his state of shock, the Duke created enough screaming to bring one of his valets, Cornelius Neale, to the room. However, by this time, the Duke’s assailant had fled from the room, leaving behind just his slippers. 

The Duke then ordered a complete lockdown of his home to look for the attacker. It was soon revealed that the only one not present at the moment was the Duke’s other valet, Joseph Sellis. When they finally made it into Sellis’ room, he was found dead with his throat slit.

Sellis is thought to be the Duke’s attacker, and his motive was probably jealousy or revenge. However, none of this has been confirmed and it still remains a mystery. (1, 2)


5 The death of Princess Hasleza of Malaysia in 2002 remains shrouded in some mystery even today. Witnesses saw the Princess being dragged out of her car and into a van five days before her body was discovered. Later, her husband’s first wife, Princess Shahani, was arrested for the crime but had to be released due to a lack of evidence. 

Princess Hasleza
Image is used for representational purposes only. Image credit: Shutterstock

In 2002, a Malaysian royal, Princess Hasleza, was found gruesomely murdered, with her feet and hands tightly bound. She was a 26-year-old model and actress who had married Raja Jaafar Raja Muda Musa, the prince of Malaysia.

As per Islamic traditions, Malaysian men are allowed to marry more than one woman, but only the aristocrats are known to follow this. The Prince had married Princess Hasleza in a similar way, while still being married to his first wife, Raja Nor Mahani. 

The day Princess Hasleza went missing, witnesses saw her being forcibly dragged out of her car and into a van. Five days later, her body was recovered near a river 100 miles from Kuala Lumpur. Suspicion soon fell on Raja Nor Mahani, citing that she was jealous of the attention her husband showered on the junior wife. However, since there was no evidence against her, she had to be released. (1, 2)

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