Your RDA of Irony

The Other Royal Disease

Let’s wish a Happy Birthday to Christian VII.  The King of Denmark and Norway would be 257 years old today.  Unfortunately, it would have been unwise to let him near lit birthday candles.  Christian’s hobbies included schizophrenia, paranoia and self-mutilation.  The King was left in the care of Dr. Johann Struensee, who assumed for himself both running the country as well as “conjugal” duties with the Queen.  (Dr. Struensee’s sidelines eventually earned him a decapitation.)

Stupidity usually guarantees the sanity of royalty.  You can’t lose a mind without having one.   Nonetheless, a number of royal families could have used ermine strait jackets.

Nero was the nephew of Caligula. The family resemblance is obvious.

France’s Charles VI had bouts of insanity. His daughter Catherine married Henry V–under duress; she was part of the booty of Agincourt. That union produced Henry VI–who also had bouts of insanity. Charles VI was succeeded by Charles VII; but since the French Queen played around–and admitted it–Charles VII evidently had a sane father. The widow of Henry V didn’t quite play around–but she certainly found solace in a Welsh knight named Owen Tudor. None of their children suffered insanity, although one great-grandson–Henry VIII–was a bit unstable.

Everyone knows of Mad King Ludwig of Bavaria. But he was a paragon of sanity compared to his younger brother and successor Otto. Otto actually thought that he was a dog. Although Otto nominally succeeded his brother, no one allowed him to bark in public. A series of  cousins maintained a regency in Bavaria.

And was Ludwig really insane? He was spending Bavaria into bankruptcy, but that is a royal prerogative. Ludwig’s only real manifestations of insanity were his fondness for Wagner and his public dislike of Bismarck. (The latter could be regarded as a death wish–and Ludwig did drown under mysterious circumstances.)

Be reassured, however.  The British Royal Family is as sane as a brick. 

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