Weird History

15 Bizarre Obsessions of Royals in History  

Chase Christy
102.1k views 15 items

Money, power, and fame can drive a person crazy - just look at Kanye. Throughout history, there have been many influential people that have had some weird quirks. For some, these eccentric habits manifested into dangerous manias. 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 Obsess... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 15 Bizarre Obsessions of Royals in History
Photo: Rudolf Siemering/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Friedrich Wilhelm I ruled Prussia from the year 1713 until his death in 1740. During this time, Wilhelm grew the Prussian Army from 38,000 men 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. 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 Dead Husband
Queen Juana I of Castile Reall... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 15 Bizarre Obsessions of Royals in History
Photo: Nicolaus Alexander Mair von Landshut/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Queen Juana I of Castile, often referred to as Juana the Mad, was the daughter of Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon. Juana was set to marry Philip the Handsome of Austria. They did not speak each other's languages, but upon meeting, they immediately fell in love and were immediately wed. However, as Juana fell more deeply in love with her husband, Philip became increasingly unfaithful to his wife.

Philip eventually left Juana and went to Flanders, but this did not stop her love for him. She followed him to Flanders, where they settled their differences after Juana starved herself while confined to her room. Soon after, Philip died at the age of 28, causing Juana’s deteriorating mental state to worsen. She caressed the corpse and did not part with it until it was embalmed and interred in a Monastery near Burgos.

Five weeks after his death, she had the coffin opened after hearing stories that the grave might have been robbed. She began kissing the corpse’s feet and had to be forcibly removed from the vault. The body was set to be buried in Granada as a final resting place and Juana accompanied the coffin on the journey after opening it a second time. The coffin was protected by armed guards and women were not allowed to come near. She went on to open the coffin at least two more times to smell her husband and gaze at him.

Caligula Had a Weird Relationship with His Pet Horse
Caligula Had a Weird Relations... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 15 Bizarre Obsessions of Royals in History
Photo: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (what a mouthful) was better known as Caligula. Caligula was a Julio-Claudian dynasty member and Roman Emperor from 37-41 AD. Caligula had his quirks, which included incestuous relationships with his sisters. But his love for his sisters paled in comparison to the love he had for his horse, Incitatus. He gave the horse a jeweled collar, a marble stall, and a house that included a garden and servants. Caligula would even invite Incitatus in to eat dinners where he was fed oats mixed with golden flakes.

It is rumored that before a race, Caligula would let Incitatus sleep with him. Another rumor maintains that Caligula made Incitatus a consul, although this has been disputed by historians.

Sultan Ibrahim I Was a Certified Chubby Chaser
Sultan Ibrahim I Was a Certifi... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 15 Bizarre Obsessions of Royals in History
Photo: Ottoman miniature painting/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Ibrahim I was born in Istanbul, the capitol of the Ottoman empire. Afraid of having his throne usurped, Ibrahim's older brother killed all of his younger brothers except for Ibrahim because he found him to be of no threat due to his lack of mental ability. Ibrahim I was obsessed with overweight women and ordered his men to search for the most obese women in the Ottoman Empire.

He found a woman in Georgia and gave her a nickname that translates literally to “a piece of sugar.” She weighed around 330 pounds. He gave her a salary and appointed her Governor of Damascus. At one point, Ibrahim had nearly 300 women in his harem.