Answers for the UK especially welcome but any modern monarchy likewise. What would - or could- happen to King Charles if he went on a rampage and shot up a school and then went and planted/detonated a bomb in a crowded building, possibly Parliament itself?

Or the relevant parallels in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Japan, Nepal, the Netherlands, etc.?


2 Answers 2


This actually happened in Nepal in 2001. Crown Prince Dipendra shot & killed his parents (the king & queen) and several other members of the royal family before shooting himself in the head. He lingered in a coma for three days before his own death, during which period he was technically king. His uncle Gyanendra acted as regent during this brief period, becoming king after Dipendra's death.

During his three-day regency, Gyanendra initially denied Dipendra's role in the massacre:

First reports that the crown prince had been responsible for the massacre were subsequently denied, with an official statement speaking only of an accident in which there was a sudden discharge of a weapon inside the royal palace.

King Gyanendra has admitted that the second explanation - which was issued when Dipendra was alive, though critically wounded in hospital - may have been influenced by "legal and constitutional hurdles".

While alive, Dipendra was king and it would have been impossible under the constitution and by tradition to accuse him of mass murder.

The fact that it would have been impossible to accuse Dipendra of mass murder may refer to some sort of lese-majesté law in place at the time, rather than just sovereign immunity; but I have been unable to confirm this.

In any event, it seems highly likely that had Dipendra survived, he really would have been immune from prosecution. It is of course unknowable what kind of crisis this would have precipitated, or how it would have been resolved. In hindsight, given that the Nepalese monarchy only lasted a few more years anyhow, it is plausible that having a murderer on the throne could simply have hastened the monarchy's ultimate demise. But this is really just speculation on my part.


A Constitutional crisis would happen

The King of the UK has sovereign immunity: he cannot be arrested or tried for anything he does.

However, the last time this happened, Parliament changed the law and cut the King's head off. It is likely that something similar would occur should the monarch commit an egregious crime - but without the head-cutting-off bit because the UK doesn't do capital punishment anymore.

  • 1
    This answer implies that Charles I had committed serious offences like posed in the question. However, his politically motivated indictment was some vague "tyrannical power" rather than specific mundane crimes.
    – Greendrake
    Commented Dec 17, 2023 at 5:44
  • @Greendrake the answer doesn't imply that if the "this" in the second paragraph refers to a monarch (of the UK or one of its predecessor kingdoms) "being arrested or tried for [something] he does." But in the context of the question, it's not necessarily clear whether it's referring to that or to the "serious offences such as terrorism or mass murder."
    – phoog
    Commented Dec 17, 2023 at 22:06

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