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

Ferdinand wearing the Order of the Golden Fleece. Portrait by Leopold Kupelwieser, 1847 / Wikipedia

3. Ferdinand I Of Austria Liked to Roll Around in the Trash Can

A descendant of Joana of Castile, Ferdinand I of Austria was born in 1793 to double first cousins, Emperor Franz II and Marie-Therese. Ferdinand was born with hydrocephaly, another condition that was common to the Habsburgs. Hydrocephaly, or water on the brain, causes pressure on the sensitive tissue and leads to brain damage. He also had the infamous Habsburg jaw and epilepsy. Despite Ferdinand’s feebleness, the king insisted on him being the heir to the throne to continue the royal bloodline and principles of the monarchy’s succession.

During his lifetime, he served as king of Hungary, Austria, Bohemia, Lombardy, and Venetia. Because of his disabilities, he did not directly control matters of the state; these were under the mastery of counselors and regents. During his reign, one of his favorite activities was to sit down on the open end of a wastepaper basket and roll around on the floor. Surprisingly, he held the throne for a full 18 years — abdicating to his nephew Francis Joseph in 1848 — and died at the age of 82. Following his tenure, no other Habsburg was crowned king of Bohemia.

Age: 82 (1793-1875)
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria