George III of England is probably the most well known insane ruler in history, largely due to the famous movie, “The Madness of King George.” King George III sat on the throne of England from 1760-1820, and it was on his watch that the American colonies were lost – perhaps his greatest legacy. He most likely suffered from the hereditary disease of porphyria, which also afflicted Mary, Queen of Scots. The monarch’s illness presented England with a difficult problem: What do you do when a ruler becomes irrational? When the king became ill in 1788, his prime minister, William Pitt the Younger (1759-1806), and the queen ran the government on his behalf – and, later, his son ruled as regent. In his later years, as his insanity grew, he spent his time in isolation, and was often kept in straight jackets and behind bars in his private apartments at Windsor Castle. In recent times there has been some speculation that King George was driven insane by the treatments he received for his alleged insanity.


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