Just like us commoners, royals can also struggle with a case of blues from time to time. However, some royals have had mental illnesses that are far stranger and more sinister than a gloomy day. Here are ten royals with obscure mental disorders.
Related: 10 of the most unflattering nicknames given to royals
10 King George III
King George III, often called “Mad King George”, is the king known for losing the American colonies. As the ruler of Great Britain from 1738 to 1820, this king witnessed the American Revolution and the loss of his overseas lands.
However, perhaps madness was to blame for his shortcomings as a ruler. As it happens, King George didn’t seem to be quite there. The king repeated himself regularly, babbling long, incoherent sentences. He was also known to talk until he spit out of his mouth and at times even suffered from seizures.
While the theory has been spread that the king suffered from something called porphyria, which could have caused his illness, not all historians believe it. Today, many believe that the mad king really was mad and that his symptoms were due to a psychiatric illness.
9 Louis II
Another king often referred to as mad is Ludwig II or Mad King Ludwig. King Ludwig II ruled Germany from 1864 to 1886, a relatively short period of time. He is responsible for building some of the most beautiful castles in Germany, including Neuschwanstein.
Unfortunately, all of his castle-building seems to have had more to do with wishful thinking than creating a good Disney story. The king not only enjoyed building castles, he couldn’t seem to stop. His lofty ideas of beautiful castles simply did not match the reality of his finances, and despite threats from the banks, Ludwig continued with his lavish building projects.
On top of that, the king was quite reclusive, had delusions of grandeur, displayed violence and cruelty, and experienced hallucinations. All of this led his doctors to diagnose him with paranoia, a rather general term for mentally unstable. Today, however, historians believe that the young king may have battled schizotypal personality disorder and Pick’s disease.
8 prince otto
If we are going to talk about Mad King Ludwig, it is worth mentioning Prince Otto, his younger brother too. Prince Otto finally came to rule Bavaria in 1886, but by then he had already gone mad.
According to historical records, Prince Otto started showing signs of depression at the age of 17. Due to his troubled youth, the royal family decided to keep him away from court by hiding the poor boy in Nymphenburg Palace. Even once he became king, Otto only lasted six years on the throne before being hidden again for the rest of his life.
So what disease did Prince Otto really have? It turns out that his illness was not very far from his brother’s. The poor boy seems to have suffered from schizophrenia since he was 20 years old, which makes him aggressive, depressed and delusional.
7 Nerissa Bowes-Lyon
Although rarely spoken of, Nerissa Bowes-Lyon is a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, making her a member of the royal court. However, despite being a member of royalty, this poor woman went under the radar until the Netflix series. The crown was released
The reason for this is that Nerissa Bowes-Lyon and her sister, Katherine, appeared to have been mentally ill. Both women had severe learning disabilities and acted several years younger than themselves. In fact, none of the Queen’s cousins ever learned to speak.
The two women were largely ignored by the royal family and were kept hidden in a mental hospital for their lives. Because there was no medical terminology at the time of their birth to explain their severe learning disabilities, we will never know for sure what disease they suffered from. However, it seems that the two women had some kind of hereditary genetic disease and somehow managed to bypass the Queen.
6 King Charles VI of France
One of the wildest stories of madness in a royal family can be seen in King Charles VI, who was King of France from 1380 to 1422. From an early age, the king showed signs of deceit and violence, killing several of his knights in a paranoid attack sometime in 1392.
From there, the king’s illness only worsened, and he began to believe that his body was made of glass. He was so convinced of his deceit that the king was terrified of breaking his fragile glass body with a single touch. Because of that, he forbade any of the people from his royal court to come near him!
This strange hoax, called the Glass Delusion, still exists today. However, it does not affect as many people as in the Middle Ages. We can only hope that none of us suddenly develop this strange psychiatric condition.
5 Eric XIV
We don’t often hear about the Swedish monarchy, but when it comes to madness, King Eric XIV of Sweden cannot be left off the list. Eric XIV was known for his aggressive foreign policy and his ruthlessness in the Scandinavian Seven Years’ War. However, he was also known for bouts of insanity.
Although King Eric XIV seemed to start his life without too much trouble with mental illness, as time went on, the condition only worsened. In 1563 it became extremely apparent that the king was suffering from mental illness and was breaking out in fits of violence and paranoia.
At one point, the king became so delusional that he had several courtiers killed on suspicion of high treason. He then went on to sentence anyone who dared to whisper, laugh or smile in his court to death. According to him, these were acts of treason and indicated that the courtiers were gossiping behind his back.
However, in 1658, the Swedish people had had enough. They deposed the king and sent him into exile, where he lived for nearly ten more years before being poisoned to death. Today it is thought that the king suffered from schizophrenia, which is what caused his sudden outbursts.
4 Maria Eleanor of Brandenburg
Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg was a German princess who married into the Swedish royal family and made her queen. Unfortunately for her, her time as her queen had little to do with ruling and everything to do with mental illness.
The new Queen Mary and her husband embarked on the important royal task of producing an heir to the throne. Finally, after numerous miscarriages and stillbirths, the royal couple was blessed with a beautiful baby boy. The problem was that the baby was a girl, not a boy, and therefore she could not inherit the throne.
Plunged into a deep depression, the queen made several attempts to take her baby’s life. Eventually, things got so bad that the court ordered the baby into the care of the king’s sister.
However, the queen’s depression did not improve from there. Her king died when her daughter was still quite young, adding to the queen’s madness. The queen is said to have kept the king’s body for months after his death just so she could touch it.
María lived the rest of her days in a deep depression, the victim of a serious mental illness that she could never overcome.
3 Princess Alexandra Amelia
Princess Alexandra Amelie was a Bavarian princess who, at just 23 years old, began to lose her mind. Some of the early signs of the young princess’s illness included her obsession with cleanliness and her refusal to wear any color other than white.
Although Princess Alexandra had always been very nervous and fragile, the real problems began a little later. What happened is that King Ludwig I, the princess’s father, chose to favor his mistress over the mother of his children. Due to the stress of the situation, Princess Alexandra went insane, believing that she had swallowed a crystal piano in her childhood.
If just thinking that he had swallowed a glass piano wasn’t bad enough, the problem only got worse from there. Because the princess was convinced she had a piano inside her, she became paranoid about breaking the piano and getting killed by the glass shards inside her.
This delusion was another example of poor King Charles VI’s crystal delusion. However, some experts believe that in Princess Alexandra’s case it was more related to OCD.
2 Philip V
Prince Philip V was a prince of Spain who ruled as king from 1700 to 1746. Unfortunately for him, he is not remembered for his great leadership. Instead, he’s best known for his insanity.
Prince Philip V suffered from feelings of inadequacy from childhood, which was probably related to depression. His condition only worsened as he aged, and he struggled with manic-depressive attacks that ranged from lethargy to hyperactivity.
Philip became even more bizarre, refusing to bathe or dress, spending days on end in his room, fighting bouts of severe insomnia, and serving guests in his pajamas. Things got so bad that the king even started holding court sessions at midnight!
Although there was no concise medical explanation for the king’s behavior at the time, today, historians believe the king battled bipolar disorder, OCD, and Cotard’s syndrome.
1 King Charles II of Spain
Another King Charles who descended into madness was King Charles II of Spain, who was the last ruler of the Habsburg lineage. Unfortunately for King Charles, it seems that inbreeding from his Habsburg ancestors drove him mad.
The king was born disfigured and struggled with severe learning disabilities and delays throughout his childhood. In fact, he didn’t learn to talk or walk until very late in his youth!
Because his psychiatric condition was so bad, doctors at the time declared that the king had been bewitched. Today, we know that the king’s madness was not the result of witchcraft at all, but was probably due to genetic diseases. However, historians are still not sure which one.
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