In the recent Netflix hit series Queen Charlotte, a royal love story marred by mental illness is told. But what exactly bothers the “mad” King George?
Rani awakens in the night to a strange murmur and finds her husband in a dark bedroom in a confused state. Soon the king runs into the garden, strips off all his clothes, falls on his knees and pours out an unfathomable stream of consciousness to the sky and the planets.
That’s how King George III’s serious mental health problems came to the fore in a shocking way for his new spouse, as described in the recent Netflix Bridgerton spinoff Queen Charlotte.
The view of the garden is a product of the imagination, not the property of King George. But what exactly is known about the king’s “madness” and what was troubling him?
According to contemporary accounts, when the seizure occurred, Yrjo began talking non-stop until he was foaming at the mouth. Sometimes he had convulsions which required his assistants to sit on top of the king so that he could not hurt himself.
In real life, the first signs of Yrzo’s latent illness were observed after four years of marriage, when he fell ill with a respiratory infection, which also led to depression. However, after a long break, no serious illness occurred until 1788, when Yrzo was already 50 years old.
Charlotte and Yrjo, married through an arranged marriage when they were young, lived an exceptionally happy life together and had no less than 15 children, 13 of whom lived to adulthood. Contrary to the custom of kings, Yerjo did not want a concubine and the couple continued to write love letters to each other year after year.
However, according to surviving documents, the fall of 1788 frightened the queen to such an extent that she no longer wanted to sleep in the same bed with the king. The king is described as suffering from insomnia, “talking inappropriately” and, among other things, accused Charlotte of sidelining him. It is claimed that he also started getting close to his assistants and violently attacked Crown Prince Yerjo.
Doctors suffered a lot. As shown in the Netflix series, they tried to treat the king in a number of painful and often inhumane ways: straitjackets, bloodletting, burning the skin, and many other techniques were tested on him.
His Majesty’s feet were put in hot vinegar water for half an hour. Soon afterwards, he was so weak that his life seemed to be in danger – and his pulse was rapid, Dr. Francis Willis, who treated the king, wrote in his diary of a treatment session in March 1801. wrote.
In the 1960s, psychiatrists Ida McAlpine and Richard Hunter put forward a theory based on symptoms that King was suffering from porphyria, a hereditary, metabolic disease that can also cause nervous system symptoms and, for example, hallucinations. . This remained the official truth for a long time, until it was severely questioned in the 21st century.
The theory of porphyria is still on the British court’s website, but the current understanding is that Yorjo is likely to have suffered from recurrent episodes of mania, which may be part of bipolar disorder.
– We will probably never know what was really wrong with Yrjo: it could have been hypomania, but researchers of his documents have observed that relapses often occurred when his personal life was difficult, including the death of his youngest daughter, Emily. He had died of tuberculosis, states the British Court’s website.
We’ll probably never know what was really wrong with Yrzo: it could have been hypomania.
Yrjö’s seizures recurred irregularly over the years, until his condition worsened significantly in the last years. Falling into a manic state, blinded by cataracts and possibly even insane, the king was no longer able to rule, and power passed in 1811 to the eldest son, Yrjo IV.
Charlotte and Yrjo were married for a total of 57 years. Yrjö spent his last decade in seclusion at Windsor Castle and died in 1821. His wife Charlotte had already left this world three years earlier, but it is uncertain whether Yrjö understood this now.
Sources: Town Country, BBC, Georgian Papers, Esquire, Royal.uk
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