The Prince's horse dashed off before he could mount, the Prince clinging to a holster on the saddle - after about a hundred yards a strap broke, and the Prince fell beneath his horse and his right arm was trampled. He leapt up, drawing his revolver with his left hand, and started to run - but the Zulus could run faster.
The Prince was speared in the thigh but pulled the assegai from his wound. As he turned and fired on his pursuers, another assegai struck his left shoulder.
The Prince tried to fight on, using the assegai he had pulled from his leg, but, weakened by his wounds, he sank to the ground and was overwhelmed; when recovered, his body had eighteen assegai wounds and had been stabbed through the right eye which had burst it, and penetrated his brain.
Two of his escort had been killed and another was missing. Lt. Carey and the four men remaining came together about fifty yards from where the Prince made his final stand—but not a single shot did they fire at the Zulus. Carey led his men back to camp, where he was greeted warmly for the last time in his career: after a court of inquiry, a court martial, intervention by the Empress Eugenie and Queen Victoria, he was to return to his regiment a pariah, shunned by his fellow officers for not standing and fighting.
Carey endured several years of social and regimental opprobrium before his death in Bombay, India, on February 22, 1883.
Louis Napoleon's death caused an international sensation, and in one slanderous account Queen Victoria was accused of deliberately arranging the whole thing.
The Zulus later claimed that they would not have killed him if they had known who he was. Langalabalele, his chief assailant, met his death in July at the Battle of Ulundi Eugénie was later to make a pilgrimage to Sobuza's kraal, where her son died.
The Prince, who had begged to be allowed to go to war (taking the sword carried by the first Napoleon at Austerlitz with him) and who had worried his commanders by his dash and daring, was described by Wolseley as "a plucky young man, and he died a soldier's death. What on earth could he have done better?"
After death the Prince was ritually disemboweled by one Hlabanatunga, a common Zulu practice to prevent his spirit seeking revenge on his killers in the afterlife. His badly decomposed body was brought back to England on board the British troopship HMS Orontes and buried in Chislehurst.
Later, it was transferred to a special mausoleum constructed by his mother as the Imperial Crypt at Saint Michael's Abbey, Farnborough, Hampshire, England, next to his father.