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Did King George Have Mental Illness: Check Here!
A Bridgerton Story’s plot heavily relies on the mental health issues a young King George (Corey Mylchreest) encounters. The fourth episode, “Holding the King,” concentrates on George’s perspective of the first three episodes and the royal doctors’ inability to treat him. Even though Queen Charlotte is a fictional character, King George III most likely had mental health issues.
George became king of Great Britain at the age of 22 and reigned until his death at the age of 81 in 1820. The “Regency” era began when his eldest son, Prince George Augustus Frederick, was named Prince Regent during the remaining ten years of his reign when it was determined that he was mentally incompetent to rule.
Why did King George III have a problem? What led to his mental disorder, or as people termed it, “madness”? The royal family’s official website states that George III is best known for losing the American colonies and becoming insane. This is not entirely accurate. There are a few possibilities, but the solutions might be lost in time.
Ida Macalpine and Richard Hunter, two psychiatrists, asserted in the British Medical Journal in the 1960s that George had acute porphyrias, a metabolic condition that affects the neurological system. Recent studies have found that Macalpine and Hunter were “highly selective in their reporting and interpretation of his signs and symptoms and that the diagnosis of the acute porphyria cannot be sustained,” contending they “sought to remove ‘the taint of madness’ from the House of Windsor.”
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Timothy Peters’ 2011 paper in Clinical Medicine supports this claim. Instead, Peters suggests King George III may have had bipolar disorder or recurrent mania. He writes that when George was given his diagnosis, it was “manic depressive psychosis.”
Peter Garrard and Vassiliki Rentoumi supported the bipolar disorder diagnosis in their analysis of letters written by George III during “mentally healthy and mentally ill periods,” concluding that “in the modern classification of mental illness acute mania now appears to be the diagnosis that fits best with the available behavioral data.” Other researchers have also supported this diagnosis. The porphyria notion is utterly irrelevant, Garrad told the BBC. This was a mental disorder.
According to the royal family’s website, George III may have had hypomania. Still, researchers who have studied his papers have discovered that his breakdowns frequently coincided with domestic strife, including the untimely death of his youngest daughter Princess Amelia from tuberculosis. A form of mania known as hypomania often occurs with bipolar disorder.
George may have experienced dementia in the last ten years, in addition to extreme insanity and blindness from bilateral cataracts. As Queen Charlotte illustrates, the harsh and painful methods George was subjected to included wearing a straitjacket, bloodletting, blistering, and other practices. In March 1801, George’s doctor, Dr. Francis Willis, noted in his journal that “His Majesty’s feet were put into hot water and vinegar for half an hour.”
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Soon after, His Majesty appeared so exhausted that he had given up hope of survival; his heart rate had also quickly accelerated. Whatever happened to King George III, it was evident that the medical professionals at the time lacked the resources to care for him.
In his book The Four Georges, William Makepeace Thackeray observed of George III that “all the world knows the story of his malady: all history presents no sadder figure than that of the old man, blind and deprived of reason, wandering through the rooms of his palace, addressing imaginary parliaments, reviewing fancied troops, holding ghostly courts.” In 1820, George passed away at Windsor Castle.
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