15 Bizarre Obsessions Of Royals In History

Money, power, and fame can drive a person wild. Throughout history, there have been many influential people with weird quirks. For some, these eccentric habits manifested into dangerous manias, and for others, strange obsessions or collecting habits. This list explores some of history's most bizarre royal obsessions - all of them worthy of their own show on TLC.


  • The King Of Prussia Was Obsessed With Giants

    The King Of Prussia Was Obsessed With Giants
    Photo: Rudolf Siemering / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Friedrich Wilhelm I ruled Prussia from the year 1713 until his passing in 1740. During this time, Wilhelm grew the Prussian Army from 38,000 to over 80,000. In addition to growing the overall ranks, Friedrich also had a preoccupation with developing his own personal regiment of unusually tall soldiers. These soldiers were known formally as the Grand Grenadiers of Potsdam. However, they were widely known and referred to as the "Potsdam Giants."

    There was only one criterion that needed to be met in order to join the ranks of the Giants: you had to be at least six feet tall. Once you were in, you were treated very well, with the best food, pay, and uniforms. Some soldiers volunteered to be a part of the regiment, but Wilhelm had other means of “recruiting.” He would often pay men for their tallest sons and farmhands. Leaders from other countries would even send him their tallest men in order to foster civil relations. Wilhelm attempted to make these soldiers even taller by stretching them on the rack, which often led to the soldier being crippled or killed.

  • Queen Juana I Of Castile Really Liked Spending Time With Her Deceased Husband

    Queen Juana I Of Castile Really Liked Spending Time With Her Deceased Husband
    Photo: Nicolaus Alexander Mair von Landshut / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Queen Juana I of Castile, often referred to as "Joan" or "Juana the Mad," was the daughter of Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon. Juana married Philip the Handsome of Austria when she was a teen and, soon after, began having children with him. Philip became increasingly unfaithful to his wife, which sent Juana into fits of rage and despair that revealed her delicate mental health.

    When Philip passed in 1506 at the age of 28, Juana’s deteriorating psychological state worsened. She is reported to have caressed and kissed Philip's corpse and did not part with it until it was embalmed and interred in a Monastery near Burgos.

    Soon after, she had the coffin opened again to look at it -  kissing the corpse’s feet. The body and coffin followed her to Torquemada, protected by armed guards under orders not let other women near it. She went on other journeys and had the coffin brought along until she was imprisoned in a palace in 1509, where she remained for the rest of her life.

  • Caligula Had A Weird Relationship With His Pet Horse

    Caligula Had A Weird Relationship With His Pet Horse
    Photo: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus (what a mouthful) was better known as Caligula. Caligula was a Julio-Claudian dynasty member and Roman Emperor from 37-41 CE. Caligula made his share of controversial decisions, which included having incestuous relations with his sisters. But his love for his sisters paled in comparison to the love he had for his horse, Incitatus. According to certain historical accounts, Caligula gave the horse a marble stall and a house and would even invite Incitatus in to eat dinners where he was fed oats mixed with golden flakes.

    Another rumor maintains that Caligula made Incitatus a consul, although this has been disputed by historians.

  • Sultan Ibrahim I Wanted A 'Wild Heifer' Woman

    Sultan Ibrahim I Wanted A 'Wild Heifer' Woman
    Photo: Ottoman miniature painting / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Ibrahim I was born in Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman empire. Afraid of having his throne usurped, Ibrahim's older brother slew all of his younger brothers except for Ibrahim because he found him to be of no threat due to his lack of mental stability. Ibrahim I was obsessed with lust, had a large harem, and ordered his men to search for a unique kind of woman: one who was made in the manner of "a wild heifer." 

    They found such a woman and gave her a nickname that translates literally to “piece of sugar.”