An assassination is the deliberate killing of a prominent or famous person, most often for political reasons or as part of a conspiracy, and history is littered with them.
We all know the story of Archbishop Thomas Becket, murdered extremely gruesomely on the steps of Canterbury Cathedral in 1170. Spencer Perceval was shot dead in 1812 in the House of Commons and remains the only British Prime Minister to have been assassinated. And the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in 1914 is the event that directly sparked the First World War.
But history is also full of suspected assassinations, or assassinations/assassination attempts that are surrounded by mystery, intrigue and conspiracy theories. It is these stories that I will focus on.
Was King William II’s death in the New Forest in 1100 really an accident, or was he the victim of an assassination? Was Lee Harvey Oswald really acting alone when he shot JFK, or was there a second gunman? Did Marilyn Monroe really commit suicide, or was she assassinated? Did the CIA murder Beatles legend John Lennon? Who killed BBC presenter Jill Dando? And were Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed deliberately bumped off by the British Establishment?