Sunday, November 18, 2012

The first Bourbons´ mental problems

Last day we talked very slightly about Philip V and Ferdinand VI´s mental problems. Although the first Bourbons were Absolute Monarchs, they went through periods of total inability to be in charge of the government and this gave an increasing role to secretaries, such as Ripperdá, Grimaldo, Patiño, Carvajal or Wall

Inbreeding also affected the Bourbons and the first representatives of this dynasty in Spain suffered from mental problems that made life in the Royal Palace difficult  and obliged the secretaries to look after everyday decisions. Philip V probably suffered from bipolar disorder and he had an eccentric behavior, with long manic-depressive episodes. In 1724 he abdicated on his son Louis, but had to return to the throne when Louis I died seven months later. If you want to read more  about him, click on the following link: 

Philip V and his wife Isabella of Farnese

Philip V´s son, Ferdinand VI, was completely dependent on his wife, Barbarta of Bragança. They were both neurotic and subject to melacholia. When Barbara died, King Ferdinand Vi lost reason completely and spent his last year among his own excrements. If you want to read more about him, click on the link below: 

File:Ferdinand VI of Spain.jpg

Ferdinand VI


Carmen Utrilla said...

I think that it's icredible that a person who had mental problems could be king of a big empire only because he was descendant of the nobles. If they couldn't look after themselves, how could they rule?

Paqui Pérez Fons said...

Hello Carmen,

That´s the point of this situation. Monarchy is this way: hereditary titles depend on the lottery of fortune and inbreeding gave kings a lot of possibilities of having either mental of physical problems. That´s why many enlightened philosophers defended a representative government. Voters can make mistakes and choose bad rulers, but the advantage is that if the elected rulers don´t work as they should or they have a shameful behaviour (such as Berlusconi in Italy), people can get rid of them in the following elections. We can´t do this with monarchs.

Another important fact in this cases was that, as time went by, ruling a kingdom or an empire required a lot of knowledge and dedication and, as kings were normally not ready for those tasks, the people who worked for them started having a leading role in the administration. That´s why we know the names of many secretaries or ministers, who were more in charge of the government than the kings did.

See you on Wednesday!