Insane in Spain - royal highlights

Madrid for kids

Crazy Queen caught cuddling corspe

The Kings of Spain descend from Queen Juana 'The Mad' of Castile (1479-1555).  She fell madly in love with her handsome husband, Philip and continued to caress him even after his death.  She was intelligent, serious, hardworking and pious , able to speak fluently in Latin, dance gracefully and play the clavichord and guitar.  


One day, after quarreling, Philip left Juana in Spain with her parents and returned to Flanders. When she learned of it, she went berserk and her mother had to lock her up in castle La Mota.  Juana was consumed with jealousy and thought Philip would be seeing other women [which he was].  When he was 28 Philip began suffering from chills and fever, was hardly able to swallow or speak and he sweat a lot.


Juana, pregnant again, stayed constantly at his bedside and cared for him but he died.  Juana was distraught and started behaving even more strangely.  Juana heard rumours Philip's body had been stolen so, five weeks after he died she had the coffin opened.  When the wrappers were removed from the corpse, Juana began kissing its feet.  [Eeeew gross, and totally pongy!] She had to be removed from the vault with force.


Carlos II cops chromosonal catastrophy

The list of Carlos II's (1661-1700) deformities is long.  He was an unfortunate descendant of Queen Juana 'la loco' inheriting her madness and other maladies because the Royals preferred to marry either their cousin or their niece, probably because noone else was of a suitable social status or to keep their fortunes in the family.  He was sadly degenerated with an enormous misshapen head.  His Habsburg jaw stood so much out


that his rows of teeth could not meet and he was unable to chew.  His tongue was so large that he was barely able to speak.  His intellect was similarly disabled.  He had been breastfed by wet nurses until the age of 5 or 6 and was not allowed to walk until almost fully grown.  Even then he was unable to walk properly, because his legs would not support him and he fell several times.  His body remained that of an invalid child.  The nature of his upbringing, the inadequacy of his education, the stiff etiquette of his court, his dependence upon his mother and his superstition helped to create a mentally retarded and hypersensitive monarch.  Over the years Carlos grew steadily worse.  He was lame, epileptic and bald at the age of 35.  His hair had fallen out, his teeth were nearly gone and his eyesight was failing.  In 1698 he had three fits and became deaf.  The doctors put freshly-killed pigeons on his head



to prevent dizziness and applied the steaming entrails of mammals to his stomach to keep him warm, but he died nevertheless.  'Many people tell me,' Carlos once said, 'I am bewitched and I well believe it; such are the things I experience and suffer.'
The problems when no one else is 'good enough' to marry.  The Habsburg Dynasty experienced frequent familial intermarriage.  One branch ruled over Spain and the other over Austria.  Spanish princesses, however, did marry French kings, Louis XIII and Louis XIV who were not Habsburgs.  But Spanish and Austrian cousins often married, probably in order to keep the fortune within the family. This practice actually weakened the genetic makeup of elite family lines, resulting in abnormally high occurrences of rare genetic defects and diseases of which Carlos II is an example.  

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