After arriving in Portsmouth, Felton heads to the palace to find the Duke of Buckingham. At this point, he’s worked himself up into a frenzy and is nearly ready to kill the duke on sight. When Felton arrives at the palace, he sees another man who also demands to see the duke. However, because the guard at the palace already knows Felton, he gives him preferential treatment and allows him to go first.
Ironically, because Felton is Lord de Winter’s man, he gets special treatment; after all, Lord de Winter is one of the duke’s best friends and he has no reason to suspect that Felton has come to hurt him.
When Felton sees the duke, he gives him the order that is meant to exile Milady to a penal colony. Felton doesn’t care about the order itself; he only wants to see if the duke will actually sign it. Of course, the duke moves to sign it right away. In response, Felton begins arguing with the duke and asking him how he could sign such an order given what he’s done to Milady in the past. Confused, the duke tells Felton to leave and place himself under arrest. However, by this point, it is too late. Felton pulls out a knife and stabs the duke. The duke cries for help and many people rush to his aid, including Lord de Winter, who realizes immediately what’s happened.
Felton gives the order to the duke as a test. He assumes that if the duke signs it, then he is guilty of all of the crimes Milady has accused him of. Of course, the duke has no idea that he is being tested and so he immediately fails. Even worse, no one is around to help the duke, which means he cannot do anything to prevent Felton’s sudden attack. Although the historical circumstances of this attack are different than what is presented in the novel, John Felton is the name of the real person who killed the Duke of Buckingham.
As the duke is dying, Lord de Winter apologizes to him for his grave error. Once he realized that Felton and Milady had escaped, he rushed to the duke as quickly as he could. However, he was too late. Before the duke dies, he asks a messenger to read him a letter that just arrived from the queen. The letter warns the duke to be careful because his life is likely in danger. Additionally, it calls upon him to end the war. As he dies, the duke asks that all of the queen’s things be sent back to her, along with the knife that killed him.
There is dark irony present as the duke takes his final breath. If he had just made Felton wait and let the other messenger in instead, the duke’s life could have spared. Instead, he spends his final moments realizing that Queen Anne was right and that his life could have been spared if the two of them had just stayed away from one another.
The duke dies and no one knows what to do. Lord de Winter angrily insults Felton for his foolishness. Felton tells Lord de Winter that he killed the duke as an act of revenge for Milady. Lord de Winter tells Felton that he is a fool. The next moment, all of Felton’s conviction fades away as he spots Milady sailing away without him an hour and a half before they were supposed to leave. Felton is crushed and Lord de Winter can only shake his head.
As Milady sails away, Felton realizes that he’s fallen into the trap that Lord de Winter warned him about. Milady’s early departure signals that she never cared for Felton and knowingly sent him to his death.