England · Executions · Famous Last Words · Political

FLW: signals own execution

January 30, 1649
London, England
King Charles I is executed for treason against his country.

Defiant to the end, Charles demonstrated poise under pressure. He grew his beard and hair out after Parliament dismissed his barber, and asked his executioner “is my hair well?” He wore two cotton shirts to keep the cold January air at bay, so those witnessing his execution would not believe he was shivering out of fear. He refused to enter a plea at his trial because he believed no man held authority over a monarch, that only God could hold him accountable for any misdeeds. And his final words were to his executioner, simply “stay for the sign” when he believed the executioner was to behead him prematurely. The executioner replied “yes I will and it please your Majesty.” There was a brief pause, the King stretched his hands as his sign, and his executioner cut his head with one swing, the sign of an experienced executioner.

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