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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Off With Their Heads! - Famous Last Words

Sometimes the thing that someone is remembered best for is the last words that they say. This is true in many cases with historical figures. It is also true that sometimes these last words are just what a contemporary records as their last words. This may be fiction but it ends up being what everyone remembers - this is likely the case with Katherine Howard's last words. Sometimes their last words were just to get them safely into Heaven. Others did not even have their last words recorded (Jane Boleyn). Let's explore these now.

"To Jesus Christ I commend my soul; Lord Jesus receive my soul." ~ Anne Boleyn

"I die a Queen, but I would rather have died the wife of Culpeper." ~ Catherine Howard (rumored to be said)

"Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit!" ~ Jane Grey

"Never have I had such assistants to disrobe me, and never have I put off my clothes before such a company." ~ Mary, Queen of Scots

"Pardon me Sir, I meant not to do it", ~ Marie Antoinette (she tripped over the executioner’s foot on the way to the guillotine)

“I die innocent of all the crimes laid to my charge; I Pardon those who have occasioned my death; and I pray to God that the blood you are going to shed may never be visited on France.” ~ Louis XVI

"I shall go from a corruptible to an incorruptible Crown, where no disturbance can be."~ Charles I

"The King's good servant but God's first." ~ Thomas More

"Good people, I come here to die and not to purge myself as some may think I should. I am by law condemned to die and I thank my Lord God that has granted me this death for my offense, for since I came of age I have lived as a sinner, and offended my Lord God for which I ask Him heartily for forgiveness. I have also offended my prince, for which I ask him hearty amnesty. I heartily desire you to pray for the King's Grace, and that he may long live with you in health and prosperity, and that after him his son Prince Edward may long reign over you.

Gentlemen, you should all take warning from me, who was as you know from a poor man made by the Prince into a great gentleman, and that I, not contented with that, not with having the kingdom at my orders, presumed to a still higher state.

My pride has brought its punishment."
~Thomas Cromwell

Last words can say a lot about a person, huh?

Copyright © 2010 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. Shiver...the Marie Antionette quote is particularly touching. It's difficult to imagine facing execution like that!

  2. Mr. Cromwell obviously still needed to tamp down his erm, pride

  3. Rowenna- I too thought that about her quote!

    Pricilla - I KNOW!

  4. I have a soft spot for Marie Antoinette, but frankly, all these quotes gave me shivers. Even if these people had 'private' executions, how frightening.

  5. One could hope to meet such terrible fates with such grace and composure. The thought of what these people went through in their final hour is chilling. Marie Antoinette's statement certainly puts a different spin on what her usual image is.
    Thank you for an interesting post.

  6. Audra - Most of these "private" executions were not really that private. THere were always lots of people there. I can't imagine being in that crowd.

    Library Pat - I know that I wouldn't have any composure in that setting.


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