Cruel maniac rulers who executed their better halves for their greed and lust

Cruel maniac rulers who executed their better halves for their greed and lust

Updated on September 06, 2022 17:05 PM by Anna P

Killing for lust and power

Rulers had all the powers back in time; they could use them for their advantage, let alone kill their partners. The worst part is that it was just a thing that happened back then—and it doesn’t matter if they executed their partners in the public eye. 

Rulers loved to kill their better halves and get away with it. Afterall, then, why are they rulers and monarchs in the first place? They knew how to use their power most seriously, let it be by executing their partners.

Yeah, it is not just with the rulers of old times. Even today, people kill their better halves every day. Unfortunately, some of them even get away with it, which is a sad truth. 

However, it has always been interesting when it’s a leader doing the deed. History loves to turn these rulers into tyrants and the reputation of their rule into a blood-stained epic adventure. 

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History loves bloody and exaggerated stories

These killings were filled with triumphs and egomaniacal escapades, all climaxing with a wife killing. People in those days used to find these types of public executions both jaw-dropping and surreal.

However, over the years, these infamous and scandalous executions by the rulers have been mentioned millions of times. 

And you know what? They have earned glorious names and taglines. Negative publicity is also publicity. If you can’t be in somebody’s prayer, be in their hatred.

Where did all that glory get them? - a scandalous name in history. Here are the top alleged rulers who killed their better halves and lived to tell tales. These people loved killing their partners and showed their dominance and power by executing them.

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Kingship is like

These rulers loved to enjoy their power over their partners. Throne gave them the evil right to play with anything and anyone. These people weren’t bothered about hampering their reputation and image.

All these rulers were interested in getting rid of their partners. These rulers didn't have any emotions or love for their better halves. All these rulers loved was the throne and the power it was bestowing them with in the future.

There is a certain exception of a female ruler who killed her better half. This theory of women being hungry for power and not bothered about the intimacy they share with their partners has always fascinated historians.

These rulers wanted to do something for themselves in front of the world. So, they did it and proved that by making the best of their scandals.

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King Henry VIII 1491–1547

This man did not know how to control his sex addiction. An ever-horny guy, King Henry VIII, is a celebrity on this list. 

He is the original gangster King gone wild. He became a wife-murderer and wanted to devour more women in his lifetime. He wanted to have more and more girls and women in his bed than bills passed in his court for the welfare of his Kingdom.

He needed a woman every night; normally, people take a break from having sex, but King Henry VIII loved sex more than he loved food. More than trying to get to know more and more about his Kingdom, he wanted to know more and more about the women’s bodies.

King Henry VIII killed two wives and many other family members who opposed his fooling around with young women. The man couldn’t control his sexual drive to get more and more women in his arms; he was ready to shed as much blood as possible.

King Henry VIII was also known for his alleged six marriages against the Church and kept many mistresses who warmed his bed because he loved to explore more and more women.

The 16th-century English King was a sex maniac and got bored out of his wives and women easily. He decided to get his divorce from Queen Katherine of Aragon. However, she refused to divorce, which he wanted from her. 

Simultaneously the Roman Catholic church would not allow it, and they supported Queen Katherine of Aragon as his legal wife. Moreover, the divorce between Kings and Queens was really difficult back then. It was against the Church, and, most importantly, Queen Katherine of Aragon was against it.

So King Henry VIII only did what anybody wouldn’t have expected a King to do. He completely severed his ties with the Roman Catholic Church and created his Church. This building of a Church was a completely out-of-mind decision for the people of the 16th Century.

People of his Kingdom were confused about which religion he was following and that he was building a Church! However, he got his priest, who annulled his marriage with Queen Katherine of Aragon.

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The first execution

Anne Boleyn was the first of King Henry VIII’s wives to be sentenced to death; she courted for six long years. Anne Boleyn was the legitimate wife of King Henry VIII and was not taking any of Henry’s horniness and fooling around with mistresses.

However, Anne Boleyn created more issues for King Henry’s sexual endeavors.

One reason why King Henry VIII wanted a divorce in the first place from Anne Boleyn was his illegitimate relationship with Anne’s sister Mary. Along with that, Anne Boleyn herself gave birth to a daughter.

However, during this time, Anne’s sister Mary, his mistress, had given birth to two children, one a daughter and the next a son. But, the mistress's child was not heir to the throne. So, King Henry VIII was frustrated with these illegitimate children.

Unfortunately, they were considered bastards with no future claim to the throne. This frustration from having a son from a mistress, not his legal wife, angered the King.

Anne only delivered King Henry VIII a lass, Elizabeth, which disappointed him greatly. He was not ready to stop there; he wanted a legal heir, as he considered a son sitting after him as the next Tudor.

However, after the birth of Elizabeth, it became clear to King Henry VIII that Anne would not produce a son. This incapability of Anne made King Henry hammer the last nail in her coffin.

He knew getting rid of Anne Boleyn was very difficult as it was not possible for him as she was well-educated, and she knew the court tricks King Henry VIII could have used on her.

For this reason, he decided to add a few more alleged blame on his wife, Anne Boleyn, and get her executed. He locked her in the Tower of London and even accused her of having an affair with her brother. 

King Henry VIII had her beheaded on May 19, 1536, when she was thirty-five. She was convicted of false treason and having affairs with five men other than her brother.

Anne Boleyn denied all the claims in the court of King Henry VIII, but he knew what he would do, and he made it very clear. He did not attend the execution of Anne Boleyn, which was a public execution in the Tower of London.

This execution power made King Henry VIII think he could get away with anyone and anything.

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The second execution

He next married Queen Catherine Howard; she was the next wife to make it on King Henry VIII’s chopping block. Unfortunately, she, too, failed to give him a son. King Henry VIII was not ready to accept the birth of his daughters as his fault.

Nevertheless, Queen Catherine was the cousin of Queen Anne Boleyn. Both the sisters met with the same fate. 

Catherine Howard was Queen from 1540 to 1541 as the fifth wife of King Henry before he got bored of her and got her executed and beheaded on February 13, 1542. 

Just like Anne Boleyn, the King accused her of adultery. It was an easy excuse for the King to put it on Catherine, so he did that.

However, when Catherine understood that she could not save her life under any given circumstances, she did manage to throw in some major dark shades about the King’s alleged way of dealing with women before she died. 

Catherine’s last words, spoken from the scaffold, were, “I die a Queen, but I would rather die the wife of Thomas Culpeper.” Now, Culpeper was a close friend of the King and related to her. So, she kicked the shin of King Henry VIII, calling him out in public as being an incapable husband.

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King Herod the Great 37 BC–4 BC

King Herod the Great was another ruler who was not interested in ruling but enjoyed women and killing them afterward.

However, King Herod the Great was not the Herod who was there during the life of Jesus Christ. This King Herod had a reputation for having more mistresses in his bed rather than solving more state affairs. It was a well-known fact even during his time amongst his people. 

However, King Herod sits in the historical records as King of Judea. He ruled from 37 BC to 4 BC. However, the ruler was rather in the mood of enjoying with women rather than trying to make his Kingdom a better place.

Nevertheless, his notoriety increased as he killed one of his wives, Mariamme. His wife was the granddaughter of a former Judean High Priest. Herod was notorious enough to kill his two sons, which Mariamme bore for him.

He executed the whole family, which included Mariamme’s brother, grandfather, and mother. However, King Herod did not bother about the deaths of his close kin as he had other wives and children. 

Herod had eight other wives and children: six of his wives gave him a total of fourteen children. So, Mariamme’s loss was not an issue for him at the most as he got her held under the false allegations of adultery.

Mariamme was executed in 29 BC over dangerous accusations of having tried to kill the King. The King used reverse psychology on Mariamme - whatever he did back then, he put it on his wife and got her entire family executed.

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Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus 

AD 54–AD 68

Evil lurked at the corner with the numerical 666 etched on the city's fate. Between AD 54 and AD 68, the Roman Empire was ruled by the megalomaniac sociopath - Nero. 

Now Nero’s original name was Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus. Nevertheless, heir to the Roman throne, he was the fifth Roman Emperor. 

He was also the stepson and heir of Emperor Claudius. However, sitting on the throne changed him completely. It was within thirty-five months that he would dramatically change in terms of his personality.

He was the type of ruler who first disliked signing death warrants but ordered his mother’s death in AD 59. That was a shocking fact for the Roman Empire, especially from a Roman King.

Indeed, Nero’s mother wasn’t that innocent, though. Agrippina, Nero’s mother, was intense, to say the least, and was harassing Nero. But getting her executed was a shocking factor for everyone.

Now, maybe something triggered in Nero after executing his mother. Sitting on the throne turned Nero into a tyrant. He used to beat his wife regularly and rape her whenever he felt like he needed to bring out his frustration on her.

However, he was bored with his wife and finally murdered her after falling in love with Poppaea Sabina. This new lady was a senator’s young former wife; he married her just because he wanted Poppaea Sabina.

However, he was physically and sexually abusive towards Poppaea Sabina. Over time Nero turned more and more megalomaniac. He also killed his stepbrother and his stepbrother’s wife and mother to keep his throne under his bloodline. 

He started hating everything and everyone and was going crazy in his head. He started hating even the Romans, setting a fire in Rome. 

Now people believed that he was the one who had set fire to Rome even though he was smart and cunning enough to be miles upon miles away from the incident. He was determined to play his trick in a much nasty way.

Nero tried to blame the fire set on by the Christians. He detested Christians and used to put all his evil actions on the Christians.

After his open detestation of Christians, Nero earned the name of being evil. Moreover, Christians loathed him for his actions, including killing his wife. 

However, Nero committed suicide in AD 68, and his era of tyranny ended. 

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King Claudius - Hamlet

Not many know, but Hamlet was a real prince from Denmark. William Shakespeare took inspiration from the young prince and wrote his play.

However, in reality, King Claudius was one of the wife-murderer in the history of notorious rulers.

If we dive into the reality here, King Claudius is one of the best examples of a cunning ruler who unintentionally killed his wife. He was planning to kill Prince Hamlet, but unfortunately, Prince Hamlet’s mother and King Claudius’s wife became the victim.

King Claudius was Prince Hamlet’s uncle who married Hamlet’s mother; however, King Claudius and Hamlet hated each other. King Claudius turns out to be the main antagonist of the Shakespearian tragedy Hamlet. 

Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, unknowingly drank from a cup of poison that Claudius intended to give to Hamlet. But, unfortunately, Gertrude drank the cup of poison, not knowing what was in it.

Claudius half-heartedly protested because he was scared that if he showed too much resistance, everybody might consider him under suspicion, especially Hamlet. 

So, Claudius quietly watched the scene; instead of taking the chalice away from Gertrude, he just let her drink it. Yeah, she died, and Claudius pretended that he knew nothing about the poison in the first place.

However, Prince Hamlet does discover the truth and a battle ensues between King Claudius and Prince Hamlet. However, the only people who survive in that play are Horatio and Fortinbras.

But, we also get the idea that King Claudius, brother of King Hamlet, married Gertrude and then accidentally yet reluctantly killed her.

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Mayor Barry Waites - 1990s

Mayor Barry Waites has taken place for being a tyrant ruler who murdered his wife.

Technically being a mayor does not sound very ruler-like because we do not stay in a monarchy. But it looks like Barry Waites was way too much into this whole being powerful and using it for his evil deeds.

In 1998, the mayor of Lanett, Alabama, Barry Waites, murdered his wife, Charlotte. However, he pretended to be devastated by his wife's sudden, shocking death.

During the police investigation, his initial story was that he was at assignment all day when he got the ring from his daughter that her mother was dead and that Waites was traumatized as he could not believe such a thing had happened. 

The story was pretty convincing for police and media as the theatrical way he presented it. His fantastic story was so convincing that it sent the authorities on a wild goose chase. Like something he was always intending to do - distract the authorities.

The officials never found a decent suspect, so the case went cold for three years. However, the opposition was waiting for the re-election season. 

Barry Waites’s opposition mate brought out all the information and claimed that Barry Waites was the one who killed his late wife, Charlotte.

It was shocking news, of course: but Waites' opposition mate did not stop there; he revealed the gruesome details of Barry Waites strangling his wife, beating her to half-dead, and then throwing her so hard towards the concrete that she sustained a life-threatening head injury. 

The opposition mate claimed it was all a pre-planned murder by Barry Waites. Eventually, police started getting the cold case out, and research started; the authorities learned that Waites was in severe financial trouble.

Not only that, he had cheated his two daughters after Charlotte’s death and found evidence that proved that Barry Waites killed his late wife. He was condemned to forty years in jail in 2006.

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King John of England - 1199–1216

King John was not a good king and was also known as Bad King John for the pathetic atrocities he created during his ruling era.

Historians recognize this King of England from the Robin Hood fame. However, movies have always glorified something which has always been much different in real life.

However, the real-life story and movies don’t justify how abusive the guy was in his time. He used to use disgusting means to get past his ways.

Richard the Lionheart was King John’s brother; he was away fighting the armies of Islam. In the meantime, John hooked up with France’s King Philip Augustus so he could steal England’s crown for himself. 

Nevertheless, he was a bad decision-maker, and under the pressure of high-ranking rebels, King John signed the Magna Carta document in 1215. The document stated limiting the powers of existing English monarchs. 

Many novels have been written about him surrounding his rule; however, it also reveals his atrocities toward his wives. There are various written accounts where it has been mentioned that he would beat and rape his wives. 

But things went on to get worse as he started straight-up murdering his wives along with a few people. There have been accounts of King John starving his wife to death along with twenty-two knights inside Dorset’s Corfe Castle.

His cruelty didn’t stop there; he also ordered the murder of his nephew. However, he was not mentally stable; his maniac nature made him prone to become bloodthirsty. 

King John was the youngest and most favorite son of King Henry II, but somehow, things didn’t work in King John’s favor. According to the well-known tales, some say that he died from eating an excessive amount of peaches. 

However, later accounts of the tales talk about his overeating leading him to his death from dysentery in 1216; he was found dead in his chamber covered in his excrement.

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Afzal Khan - 17th Century

Afzal Khan was not a ruler but a superstitious tyrant who was also a wife-murderer.

However, Afzal Khan was one of the most powerful men in the Sultan’s army back in 17th-century India. He had sixty-three wives and had them all killed because of a group of astrologers' predictions. 

During his time, Afzal Khan was 7’0″ in height and a man who was the most powerful general in the Sultan’s court. He was renowned for his bravery, along with being respected. He was an incredible military man who was Sultan’s favorite.  

Afzal Khan did have a terrible weak spot, and it was omens. There was a time when Afzal Khan was preparing for a military campaign against the then Maratha Ruler.

However, before the battle, he consulted astrologers to tell him how it would go. However, astrologers gave him a negative prophecy. 

The astrologers said there was doom in the air as Afzal Khan assumed that his wives would remarry after he died in the battle. As a result, the tyrant Khan ordered the execution of his sixty-three wives. 

However, not many accounts are there about the type of execution. Various accounts said various things - some said that the wives were pushed down a well, and some say his own hands slew them. 

However, the prophecy of the astrologers wasn’t wrong, though. Afzal Khan did die in this battle against the Maratha Ruler.

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Wu Zetian: Empress of China - 655–690

As in this list, the last ruler is a woman, so we can say ladies came last. Cruelty has no gender type. Even women have the power to kill for power and the throne.

Not many know, but Wu Zetian was the first and the last woman to have got the chance to be called the Empress of China. She sat on the throne of China but, through murdering her husband.

Wu Zetian was born in AD 624 in a very low-income family and started her life as a mistress to the Tang Emperor Taizong. However, Wu Zetian was very clever, and her seduction level was very high.

Zetian knew what she was doing, as she was well-prepared; she seduced the Emperor’s ninth son while the current Emperor was dying. She knew she had to get the place on the throne as it was through the Emperor's son.

However, the new Emperor finally kicked all the concubines out, and Wu Zetian was sent to a monastery like all other concubines when the Tang Emperor Taizong died. 

However, the new Emperor Li Zhi could not get past the beauty and charismatic appeal of Wu Zetian.

Li Zhi visited her at the monastery often and would spend hours with her. He was fascinated by Wu Zetian’s fierce and robust spirit and impressive knowledge, so much so that the new Emperor brought her back to court as his special solicitor. 

Facts say that the new Emperor Li Zhi even married Wu Zetian, which was her ultimate goal. Now, Zetian was a notoriously effective leader, and for the sake of power, she could be particularly ruthless. 

She hated criticism or people threatening her power as she became the Empress Consort of Li Zhi. She ordered the execution of two princes against her rise to power. She made sure their heads were chopped off and brought to the palace.

Along with that, she sabotaged and manipulated, which ultimately caused the suicides of her granddaughter and grandson. In this manner, she wiped out members of the Tang clan, and last but not least, she carefully executed by poisoning her husband.

However, she spread the word that a sudden stroke killed Li Zhi. Zetian knew what she was doing from the beginning, and everything was a part of her plan to rise to power and rule as a female monarch.

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