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Sunday, January 19, 2014

The European Royal Madness

An excerpt from my book: EUROPEAN ROYALS

Throughout history, we’d known that the ancient European monarchy had rulers who were not only tyrant and criminally insane but mentally disturbed, neurotic and delusional, others who just suffered from mild insanity were categorized as simply eccentric and, well, plain nuts.

Historians down the ages conducted several researches about madness in the royal court and what caused royals to go bonkers. From genetics and pure scientific sense to folktale humor like family curse and black magic, the causes were as varied as the level of derangement of these extremely privilege individuals.

Here are few royals I included in the chapter of my book about mental insanity in the European royal court. 

GEORGE III of ENGLAND – He was the third Hanoverian King of England and was famous in history for two things: Madness and losing British territories in America through the American Revolution. It was not known however if the defeat of the British during the American Revolution was attributed to George’s incompetent decision-making due to his lunacy.

King George III was suspected to be suffering from the blood disease called Porphyria which affected a person's mental state. During his bout of madness, he would talk endlessly for hours without a pause until his mouth would foam. At one point, he became delusional, shaking hands at tree branches in Windsor Great Park thinking it was the King of Prussia. At the end of his life, he became totally insane and blind. He died in seclusion at Windsor Castle.

LUDWIG II of BAVARIA – He was known as "the mad king" but King Ludwig II was simply eccentric who preferred a life in daydreaming than facing government ministers. Due to his fascinations toward fairytales, he had almost bankrupt his Kingdom for building whimsical castles that reflected the descriptions of fairytale edifices he saw on theater plays. Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria is just one of these fairytale castles he insisted to be constructed despite his kingdom's economic turmoil. Today, this castle is one of the most famous tourist spots in Europe.

Ludwig II was a loyal patron to Richard Wagner and extremely devoted to his plays, thus would organize lavish opera shows in his palace to escape social gatherings with government ministers. When the weight of responsibilities of being a monarch would overwhelm him, he would withdraw to solitary confinement at his apartment and watched operas.  Due to these bizarre behaviour and eccentricities, he was declared insane and was forced to abdicate although there was no clear evidence of his insanity and no medical examination about his mental illness was conducted. He died from drowning during his captivity.

CHRISTIAN VII OF DENMARK – He was a nephew and brother-in-law of King George III of Britain, but no concrete evidence could point out if he was also suffering from Porphyria. But this Danish King’s insanity was not really dangerous, he was simply a practical eccentric joker. He would reportedly leapfrog when visiting dignitaries bow in his presence and would suddenly slap people during serious meetings, well, just for fun!  He took several mistresses because of his belief that it was unfashionable for a man to love his own wife. If all married men in the world will be like Christian VII then we will be in great trouble. A regency was set up when his mental derangement affected his decisions on state affairs.

IVAN IV of RUSSIA – If there’s one royal in history that combined madness and sadistic tendencies that would make you chill in terror, then that’s Ivan IV of Russia. Though his reign was considered a great one in the annals of Russian political history, his terrifying behaviour shrouded his accomplishments and made him known one of the craziest and criminally insane monarchs in Europe. His very disturbing mental illness suggested he was a psychopath.

His training skills in the macabre academy include mutilating live animals, raping women and torturing people even his friends. During the height of his psychotic behaviour, he accidentally killed his son and almost beat to death his daughter-in-law. He took many wives and would eliminate one by one the moment he lost fascination. One of these women was thrown in the lake when he found out she was no longer virgin.

CALIGULA – Perhaps, you are at loss when hearing the name Caligula because his name sounds like a voodoo doll of a witch rather than a statesman. Modern generation would never understand a thing why a Roman Emperor had a funny name like that. But Caligula was no joke, he was a powerful Emperor of Rome, so powerful that his lunacy was not discovered until he allowed his horse to eat in the banquet table with other dignitaries. His reign was only brief and his accomplishment was overshadowed with his controversial reputation of being loony and neurotic. 

At the first half of his reign, he was admired by his subjects due to the progressive reforms he introduced in Rome but as the years progressed his weird insanity slowly appeared. He would create baffling laws, he made it illegal to look at him in the face and anyone caught would be thrown to a pack of lions. He would organize gluttonous feast and parties and never understood the word “moderation”. His psychosis tendency became severe when he committed incest with his sisters, one of them got pregnant and, because he could not wait for a child to be born, he cut his sister’s womb, took the baby, killing his sister instantly. The final showdown of his lunacy was when he made his horse a citizen of Rome and a priest. His terrifying weirdness made his enemies joined together to put his excesses to the end and had him killed.

VLAD III of WALLACHIA – If you will put together Ivan IV and Caligula, then you will have Vlad III, who was known in history as the Impaler, because his way of killing his victims was through impaling. His cruelty and sadistic tendencies were still popular in Europe during the 17th century that it inspired Bram Stoker to write a novel about a horrendous man in Transylvania that drinks blood, Dracula.
The most brutal part of the way he executed people was boiling the spikes in oil to make the pain more intense and unbearable. At the height of his cruelty and Dracula streak, he would invite people to a feast in the forest and had them impaled and killed leaving the corpses to rot in the ground. He would boil infants and forced their mothers to eat them. He would cut the breasts of the wives and fed to the husbands, then had them impaled and burned. He had reportedly killed close to 100,000 people mostly in a grisly way, torturing, impaling and burning at stake. He paid a high prize though. When he engaged in a battle against the Turks, he was killed and beheaded.

More mad royals are featured in my book. This story of madness in the royal court is just part of my book about EUROPEAN ROYALS. You can find more interesting, never heard stories about royalty in the book which will be available soon.

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