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11 Royals so Crazy You’ll Feel Sane Again

There were a lot of crazy royals in every corner of the world, but who was the worst?

You gotta love history! With so many stories out there, you will never reach the end of them, which makes them even more pleasant. If you are an avid lover of history as much as I am, then you will be happy to read about these famous royal figures who weren’t as sane as you may think. Some of them tortured people, while others dressed up as wild animals to attack people. Huh?! Yes, you heard it right!

I hope this made you curious for more because I have a big list of crazy royals that will shock you! After reading the article, let’s continue the discussion in the comments section. I love hearing from you.

Crazy royals
User: Neilwiththedeal, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

1. Gaius Caligula, Roman Emperor

Caligula, who ruled Rome from 37 to 41 CE, is perhaps one of the most well-known emperors to have had “insanity.” His rule has been remembered in history as being catastrophic, and many people think he suffered from a mental issue.

Feeding his horse gold and making it a priest was one of Caligula’s most bizarre practices. The horse, called Incitatus, was rumored to bring notable individuals around for dinner, either Caligula or the horse.

Is this insufficient to label him as one of the crazy royals? Throwing large groups of individuals into the gladiatorial arena, where they would be devoured alive, was just another cruel thing Caligula did.

Whatever his state of mind, Caligula was a very harsh man who made some questionable decisions. According to legend, for instance, he led his army to Gaul’s northern coast at the beginning of 40 CE and gave them orders to gather seashells. He referred to the seashells as the ocean’s treasure.

2. Countess Elizabeth Bathory

Moving forward to another of the most notorious and crazy royals, Countess Elizabeth Bathory. She was suspected of killing hundreds of young ladies in the 16th and 17th centuries in a serial fashion. Her notoriety brought her the nickname “The Blood Countess” or “Countess Dracula,” and tales of her cruelty and sadism soon entered the national tradition.

Sources said Báthory’s first victims were young servant girls, usually between the ages of ten and fourteen. These victims, who were the daughters of peasants in the area, were drawn to the estate by promises of employment as maids or other servants in the castle.

Apparently, she hired women to torture them for weeks, and we don’t know for sure if this was a rumor or not, but the Blood Countess covered women in honey until insects ate them alive.

Furthermore, many people thought that, besides being one of those crazy royals in history, Elizabeth Bathory also had vampiric tendencies. She liked to sip virgins’ blood, thinking it would keep her young appearance unbroken, but she also took regular baths in the blood of her youthful victims as well.

3. Frederick William I

Though the name might suggest a minor league baseball team, the Potsdam Giants were a Prussian military force from the 18th century composed entirely of exceptionally tall men recruited—willingly or not—from various countries. The five-foot-three-inch-tall King Frederick William I was in charge of organizing and leading all these long warriors.

He developed an obsession with gathering massive guys, to the point that he would purchase or take them (even scout for biggish newborns) in an apparent overcompensation. He painted paintings of his men and paraded them before foreign officials, treating them like toys as they marched under his leadership, escorted by an actual bear.

4. Nero, Roman Emperor

The third personality from the list is of course from Rome too. That phrase “what happens in Rome stays in Rome,” I guess isn’t applicable in this case since he is worldwide known as being among one of the crazy royals.

In addition to dressing like a ferocious beast to harass young ladies and boys, he also employed 5,000 troops to cheer him on whenever he felt like it. Taking a random youngster who resembled his late wife and calling him “lady” was one of his most insane actions. Based on many behavioral investigations, it appears that he had severe psychosis.

5. Elagabalus, Roman Emperorr

Elagabalus threw dinner guests into water wheels so they could watch them drown, and he chained nude ladies to chariots so they could be pulled about. If all of this wasn’t terrible enough to add Elagabalus to the list of crazy royals, he also selected governors according to the size of their…well, phalluses. Size was everything to him.

6. King Ludwig II of Bavaria

To have dinner with them, he had others assume the role of long-dead royals. To construct Bavarian castles, King Ludwig also went bankrupt and vowed to commit suicide if anybody stopped him.

In addition, he desired to resign to accompany composer Richard Wagner on tour. Crazy, huh?

…psst! If you are interested in knowing about another crazy rule, this time from Romania you should definitely check out this book. Vlad the Impaler: A Life from Beginning to End contains a tremendous story about Vlad Dracul also known as Dracula, the main source of inspiration for Bram Stoker. It’s available for just $9.99 for the paperback format.

7. King George III of England

We couldn’t step away from mentioning one of the crazy royals whose actions were a bit more unusual, but at least he didn’t hurt anyone during his years at the royal court. He sobbed for hours each day. We can’t hold the guy responsible for that, can we? He also used to shake hands with oak trees.

Until recently, historians attributed the King’s alleged “madness” to porphyria, a hereditary blood sickness characterized by aches and pains and blue urine as one of its symptoms. However, according to a current study, mental illness rather than a genetic condition was most likely the origin of the “craziness,” according to historians at the University of London.

8. Peter III of Russia

Peter III of Russia was another quirky personality, but he was milder in comparison to the other crazy royals on the list. He was passionate about toy soldiers; that’s why he took this hobby to the next level of craziness.

To play toy soldiers, he forced his wife to don a military uniform in bed. At gatherings in public, he often called his wife derogatory names. Rude!  If this wasn’t already extremely strange, would you believe me if I told you that he held a martial trial after one of his toy soldiers had been decapitated by a rat?

9. Princess Alexandra of Bavaria

Rather than thinking she was made of glass, she thought she had swallowed a glass piano as a kid. She reportedly used to sneak through the royal hallways out of concern that she might break the piano inside of her. She was certain that if she bumped into someone or something, this might occur. As a result of a painful childhood event she had that was related to her father, she acquired this delusion.

Historians speculate that Alexandra could have suffered from a mental disorder akin to obsessive-compulsive disorder in the present day. It was said that she exclusively wore white clothing and that she was extremely careful about hygiene.

Crazy royals
Gabriel Maureta Aracil, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

10. Joanna, Queen of Castile

Joanna was by far one of those crazy royals we couldn’t leave outside this list! Because she was obsessed with her spouse, she was known by the nickname Juana la Loca. Juana has always captivated the attention of the Spanish people, and her image has undergone several changes throughout time.

For generations, it was widely believed that Juana was insane due to the premature passing of her cherished spouse, Felipe “el Hermoso.” She would travel around Spain with his coffin, refusing to leave with his decaying body, which she would occasionally uncover and kiss.

11. Zhu Houzhao, Ming Dynasty Emperor

Known as a big lover, he used to have many women in his harem, but it was so large that there was never enough food to satisfy everyone. Greedy, much? Because of his immature actions, the Emperor gained notoriety throughout the realm. He is said to have ordered his whole palace staff to a fictitious business area he put up outside his palace, like a living museum.

They were made to disguise themselves as commoners and merchants for the Emperor to pretend to be a commoner and go shopping when he was awash in wealth. Anyone who disobeyed would face consequences, including immediate termination from their job and legal action.

Which one of these crazy royals is your favorite? Tell me in the comments.

Are you thirsty for more historical facts that are also nice to share with your children and grandchildren as well? I got you! Check out 8 Weird Foods That Were Considered “Junk” in Medieval Times


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