Late Show: The Napoleon Murder Mystery

Was Napoleon murdered? If so, by whom, and why? Was it the hated Sir Hudson Lowe, Napoleon’s British governor on St Helena? Or did the French King, Louis XVII, want Napoleon gone once and for all. And who on the island could possibly gotten close enough to do the dirty deed?

Napoleon was in exile from 1815 to 1821, dying on 5 May of 1821. If he was murdered, why did it take so long?

This documentary from 2000 follows the efforts of a Swedish dentist, Sten Forshufvud, as he looks for evidence to support his theory that Napoleon was murdered. The popular wisdom is that Napoleon died of stomach cancer. However, the presence of traces of arsenic in his system has led some historians to believe he was poisoned, probably slowly, by a member of his own court. Using the latest forensic techniques, Forshufvud tests his theories.

There’s a bit of a Canadian connection here as well in the person of International Napoleonic Society President Ben Weider, one of the pioneers of competitive bodybuilding who founded and runs a Montreal based physical fitness and sporting goods company bearing his name. Seems like a weird juxtaposition of interests, but he’s quite obsessed with the subject. For years Weider has made it his personal mission to get to the bottom of this mystery.

3 Replies to “Late Show: The Napoleon Murder Mystery”

  1. Probably not, at least if Jane Austen’s claims about “the sweet wine of Constantia” and its “healing powers on a disappointed heart” were correct. Napoleon had more than a thousand casks of it shipped to Longwood House each year.

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