9 of the Craziest Kings and Queens in History ...


9 of the Craziest Kings and Queens in History ...
9 of the Craziest Kings and Queens in History ...

Our history is littered with examples of crazy kings and queens, and there are so many interesting stories waiting to be explored. It's difficult for me, someone from the UK, to imagine a time when a country was ruled entirely by the will of one person, simply by virtue of their birth. Whilst some monarchs in our history arguably did quite a good job, some of them were out and out crazy; the fact that they were often still allowed to rule makes it an even more fascinating time. How powerful they must have seemed to keep control of an entire country, despite being clearly unfit to rule. History is littered with the power hungry, the sadistic and the tyrannical - and here are ten of the craziest of crazy kings and queens.

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Vlad the Impaler

The most notorious of all crazy kings and queens, King Vlad of Wallachia (Southern Romania) was so infamously cruel that he surpassed history and became myth - it's said that Bram Stoker's Dracula is based on Vlad, but he's even more terrifying in reality. Ruling through fear, his favourite method of execution was death by impaling. There are countless horror stories about him; one example is the forest of spikes he allegedly surrounded his castle with, impaling & killing around 20,000 people.


Vlad the Impaler, also known as Vlad III, or Vlad Dracula, was a 15th-century prince of Wallachia who is best known for his harsh methods of punishing his enemies. He was born in 1431 in Transylvania, and his father was Vlad II Dracul, a member of the Order of the Dragon. Vlad the Impaler was a member of the House of Basarab, a family of rulers of Wallachia.

Vlad the Impaler was known for his cruelty and his penchant for impaling his enemies. He was so feared that he was given the nickname “Tepes” which means “the Impaler” in Romanian. He was also known for his extreme punishments, such as boiling people alive, mutilating them, and even skinning them alive. He was also known for his use of psychological warfare, such as having prisoners killed in front of others to instill fear.


Carlos II of Spain

Poor old Carlos was the product of severe inbreeding, resulting in extensive emotional and physical handicaps (his mother and father were niece and uncle). As well as significant physical deformities, he was a hypersensitive and mentally ill monarch; once demanding that the coffins of his relatives were dug up and opened so he could look at them. He also believed himself to be bewitched.


Carlos II of Spain, or Carlos the Bewitched, was born in 1661, the son of Philip IV of Spain and his niece, Mariana of Austria. His parents were closely related, which led to the unfortunate problem of inbreeding. As a result, Carlos was born with both physical and mental handicaps, including physical deformities and severe emotional issues.

Carlos had a difficult reign as king of Spain, due to his mental illness. He was known to be highly paranoid and believed himself to be bewitched. He was also known to be a deeply superstitious monarch, who demanded that the coffins of his relatives be dug up and opened so he could look at them.

Carlos was unable to produce an heir, so upon his death in 1700, the throne of Spain passed to Philip V, the son of Louis XIV of France. This marked the end of the Spanish Habsburg dynasty.


Juana of Castille

Upon her marriage, Juana become completely and dangerously in love with her husband, Philip the Handsome. After he perished from typhoid, she consistently requested the coffin be reopened so she could gaze upon his face, kissing and caressing him...months after his death.


Juana of Castille, also known as Juana la Loca (Juana the Mad), was the daughter of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castille, and the sister of Catherine of Aragon. She was born in 1479 and married Philip the Handsome, the son of the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, in 1496.

Juana was known for her passionate love for her husband and her extreme grief after his death. After Philip died of typhoid in 1506, Juana requested that the coffin be reopened so she could gaze upon his face, kissing and caressing him months after his death. Her grief was so intense that she was deemed "mad" and was kept under strict confinement for the rest of her life.

Juana's brother-in-law, Charles V, became the ruler of Castille after her husband's death. He declared Juana to be mentally unfit to rule and took control of the kingdom. Juana was kept in confinement for the rest of her life, though she did eventually succeed her brother-in-law as the Queen of Castille.


Charles VI of France

In a reign characterised by manic episodes, he once slaughtered four of his men after being frightened by page dropping a lance, and had iron rods sewn into all of his clothes to prevent him shattering - as he believed his bones were made of glass.


Known as Charles the Mad, his delusions led him to forget not only his status as king but also his very name and the language he spoke. Courtiers were baffled by his erratic actions, like running wildly through the halls of his palaces or refusing to bathe for months. His mental state was so precarious that his wife and children would often be forced into hiding for their safety. Even so, moments of lucidity allowed him to govern, making his bouts of insanity all the more striking when they occurred.


Justin II of Byzantine

As well as losing huge amounts of territory, ancient historians claim that Justin was certifiably insane - hearing voices in his mind and biting servants on the head (one legend even claims he ate two of them). Apparently, the only way to calm him down was pushing him around his real castle on a large toy castle, at high speeds.


Justin II's reign from 565 to 578 CE certainly highlighted the volatile relationship between power and mental health. His behavior, by modern standards, may suggest a form of psychological disorder, possibly exacerbated by the pressures of leadership. History often recounts his manic outbursts with a mix of horror and fascination. Yet, despite his unorthodox methods of stress relief, and the macabre anecdotes that seem more at home in a gothic novel, he was still a pivotal figure, continuing Justinian's legacy, however tumultuously. And who knows? The frenetic pace of ruling an empire might just drive anyone a little off-kilter.


Empress Anna of Russia

Originally intended as a puppet ruler, Anna had other ideas - spending the ten years of her reign tormenting the aristocrats who had hoped to manipulate her. The craziest thing she did? She arranged a marriage between one of the old princes and her maid, organized their wedding and had a palace made of ice for the occasion. She made the wedding party dress as clowns and spend the night in the ice palace, during one of Russia's coldest winters. And Russia is COLD.


Empress Anna of Russia is one of the craziest rulers in history. She was originally intended to be a puppet ruler, but Anna had other ideas. During her ten-year reign, she tormented the aristocrats who had hoped to manipulate her. Her most outrageous act was arranging a marriage between an old prince and her maid and throwing a lavish wedding celebration in an ice palace. On one of the coldest nights of the Russian winter, Anna made the wedding party dress as clowns and spend the night in the ice palace.

Anna had a reputation for being a strong and independent ruler. She was a patron of the arts and education and was a great supporter of the Russian Orthodox Church. She was also a great military strategist and led the Russian army to several victories against the Turks.

Anna was also known for her eccentric behavior. She was a great lover of animals and had a menagerie of exotic animals, including a polar bear and a lion. She was also known for her love of masquerade balls and extravagant parties.


Sultan Ibraham I

Sultan Ibraham succeeded in bringing the Ottoman Empire to a state of collapse in a remarkably short time - he was obsessed with obese woman, and gave his 'Sheker Pare' ('piece of sugar'), the fattest woman his officials could find, a government pension. He was also regularly spotted feeding his fish golden coins and once drowned 280 members of his harem in the Bosporus Sea after hearing that they were compromised by another man.


Sultan Ibraham I was the Ottoman Sultan from 1640 to 1648, and his reign was known for its unusual and eccentric behavior. He was known to be obsessed with obese women, and would often give them government pensions. He also had a reputation for throwing lavish parties, where he would feed his pet fish with golden coins. In 1648, Sultan Ibraham I caused a great scandal when he allegedly drowned 280 members of his harem in the Bosporus Sea after hearing that they had been compromised by another man. The shocking incident brought his reign to an abrupt end and was a major contributing factor in the eventual collapse of the Ottoman Empire.


Ivan IV

Better known as Ivan the Terrible, his is quite a tragic story. After his parents died, he was severely mistreated and abused by government officials for years until, at the age of 14, he seized power by feeding the head of government to a pack of dogs. Whilst implementing some positive changes during his reign, he also massacred huge numbers of his people - including his eldest son.


Ivan's rule was marked by his infamous Oprichnina, a policy of state terrorism involving his own personal guard who terrorized the nobility and common people alike. His paranoia and cruelty grew throughout his reign, exacerbated by the sieges and trials he faced. Even his marriage to Anastasia Romanovna didn't escape tragedy, as her death plunged him deeper into fits of rage and vendettas against perceived enemies. Despite his horrific acts, some argue his harsh tactics unified Russia against external threats, leaving a controversial legacy as both a tyrant and a nation-builder.


Emperor Caligula

Arguably the worst ruler on this list, Caligula was extraordinarily sadistic, to the point of psychopathy. A couple of examples - he liked to chew on the testicles of his victims without biting them off, having them hung upside down before him. Another one - after a man insulted him, he had him and his entire family slaughtered in age order, leaving the youngest, 12 year old daughter until last. After a member of the crowd said she couldn't be executed because she was a virgin, he had her raped and then killed. He also publicly had sex with his sisters, at banquets and so on.

There are many, many more not included on this list and even more if you look outside of ruling monarchs. What's the craziest story you've ever heard about royalty?


Emperor Caligula is one of the most infamous rulers in history, and his reign of terror was characterized by extreme sadism and psychopathy. He was known for having a particularly cruel sense of humor, which included having victims hung upside down before him and then chewing on their testicles without biting them off.

On one occasion, Caligula had an entire family slaughtered in age order, leaving the youngest daughter, who was only twelve, until last. When a member of the crowd said she could not be executed because she was a virgin, Caligula had her raped and then killed. He also publicly had sex with his sisters at banquets and other events.

Caligula is not the only ruler in history to have committed such atrocities. Other infamous rulers include Ivan the Terrible of Russia, who was known for his cruelty and his use of torture to control his people. In England, Henry VIII was notorious for executing anyone who opposed him, including two of his own wives. In France, King Louis XIV was known for his extravagance and the oppressive taxes he imposed on the French people.

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Where Thoughts and Opinions Converge

Henry VIII does NOT deserve to be on this list, nor does his daughter Mary. However, Nero does. Henry was and is still misunderstood. His favorite wife (#3- Jane Seymour), mother of Edward VI, and whom Henry is buried next to, died days after giving birth to Edward. Henry's first wife was almost forced upon him and was actually his older brother's wife, but he died and she claimed they never "consummated the marriage." Catherine of Aragon had several miscarriages before and after having Mary, so they kept trying to have a boy and failed. Then came Anne.... It started out with the other Boleyn, as in Anne's sister. Anne's sister was Henry's mistress before Henry and Anne met. Then Anne won that one and one thing led to another and she would end up pregnant, Henry left the Catholic Church, started the Anglican Church, and married Anne in secret. Few people liked Anne. He did get bored with her after she had a miscarriage. He then met Jane, and had Edward, and then she died. Anne of Cleves was #4 that one was annulled and that didn't last long- she wasn't very pretty. #5 was a teenager by the name of Catherine Howard. She had an affair with someone of lower station and both were executed. His last wife was Catherine Parr and he left her widowed. So.... Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. Mary had a difficult life. She had a father who was almost consistently absent in her young life, a hysteric pregnancy after becoming queen, religious intolerance to both protestants and Catholics throughout her life, not to mention she worried about her younger half-sister gaining supporters and overthrowing her rule (Mary imprisoned Elizabeth in the Tower of London for a time). Mostly, Mary did what she thought was right for Catholics. Nero, on the other hand according to legend, was seen and heard playing a lyre watching Rome burn. After the ashes settled, he wasted no time and acquired much of the new ground of the city and built his pleasure palace. But that isn't the worst thing he did. He is infamous for having his mother killed- there's a story about that- she had the soldiers stab her in the lower stomach area, symbolically killing her from where Nero came. He kicked his pregnant wife to death. He might have had oil poured on Christians and had them set on fire in his gardens for more light at night (that's a sketchy fact that is questioned by most historians). He devalued the Roman currency for the first time in its history (he had as much of the silver coin currency collected as he could, had it melted down, and had other metals put in with the silver to dilute, devalue, and make more of the coinage) to pay to build his pleasure palace and rebuild the rest of the city after the fire. What about Shi Huangdi? He was a little too obsessed with the mythical "elixir of life." He thought it was mercury, which is what killed him-mercury poisoning!! History is absolutely fascinating!! But you have to look at and understand it from different angles, times, and points of view (even- and especially the crazy ones)!! Don't you just LOVE irony?!?!?

Vlad the Impaler was in fact one of the best rulers of Romania. He may seem cruel but he actually was honest and he only punished the deserving. During his time if you left a bag of gold outside , no one would steal it(because theft was punished by cutting off the hands of the guilty.

#7 based and redpilled

What about King Henry VIII? He married then killed them until he had a son

I think King Henry the VIII and Bloody Mary also deserve to be on that list. They certainly made their mark in history.

My goodness, even the mere thought, that a human could be so vile is unnerving..

Horrific people! :/

Christian VII (Denmark (and Norway))!

I shudder at the thought of meeting these people😨

There should be more posts like this! It's very interesting

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