6. The Stabbing of Arthur of Brittany
Arthur of Brittany, born in 1187, led the rebellion against King John even though he was really still just a boy. He was the King’s nephew and wanted the throne for himself. He was captured by John’s forces, and put in Rouen Castle in captivity. It’s unclear exactly what happened to him next, except that he was definitely murdered.
It is rumored that John ordered him castrated and blinded, but that his captors didn’t have the stomach for that kind of violence. When John received word of this, he got very drunk and stabbed Arthur dead himself.
Arthur’s body was eventually discovered dumped in the Seine river by a fisherman in 1203. He was just sixteen-years-old. Arthur was given a secret burial so that John would not find out. Arthur’s death influenced none other than William Shakespeare and his play “King John,” published in 1623.
Arthur’s death also caused his sister to remain imprisoned for the rest of her life so that she could not succeed him. Arthur was instead succeeded by his half-sister, Alix of Thouars, who never actually got to control much of her inheritance in large part due to King John.