16 Royals Who Suffered From Hereditary Mutations And Defects Caused By Inbreeding

Carlos II de España. Juan Carreño de Miranda/via Wikimedia Commons

1. King Charles II of Spain Could Barely Speak or Eat

For hundreds of years, the Habsburgs were one of the most powerful families in all of Europe. The line began in the thirteenth century and ruled Austria, Spain, and the Holy Roman Empire (which was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire) until the 1900s. Marie Antoinette, the last queen of France, was herself from the Habsburg line.

However, the royal line suffered acutely from massive inbreeding; in fact, inbreeding may have been what led to the downfall of the dynasty. In fact, one of the Habsburgs, Joanna of Castille, appears in the family tree no fewer than 14 times! The family was particularly known for what is identified as the Habsburg jaw, an oversized jawline and large tongue that made activities such as eating and speaking difficult. The last Habsburg king of Spain was Charles II, and he was so severely inbred that his “inbred quotient” was higher than if his parents had been siblings. He had such a severely oversized jawline that he was barely able to eat or speak. He was also known to drool a lot. Additionally, he was unable to walk until he was eight years old, and even then could only walk with great difficulty. Not exactly a lady’s man.

Despite being married twice, the king was unable to procreate, quite possibly an effect of his severe inbreeding. He died in 1700 at the age of 39, leaving behind no heir to the throne and thereby effectively ending Habsburg rule in Spain.