Friday, August 29, 2014

The Madness of King George

I work in the mental health field and I'm  fascinated and frequently appalled by the treatment of those who suffered from mental disorders throughout history. Whether or not you are familiar with what happened to King George III you might find this post interesting.

The Madness of King George
Nigel Hawthorne and Helen Mirren star in this incredible movie that released in 1994.

Some of my favorite lines from the movie. You can find more at the Internet Movie Data Base

George III: Six hours of sleep is enough for a man, seven for a woman, and eight for a fool.

[Pitt has given the King some papers to sign]
George III: What is this? America, I suppose.
Pitt: No, sir.
George III: Oh, America's not to be spoken of, is that it?
Pitt: For your peace of mind, sir. But it's not America.
George III: Peace of mind! I have no peace of mind. I've had no peace of mind since we lost America. Forests, old as the world itself... meadows... plains... strange delicate flowers... immense solitudes... and all nature new to art... all ours... Mine. Gone. A paradise... lost.

I found this next scene between the King and his doctor very sad and unfortunately accurate for the day.

Dr. Willis: If the King refuses food, He will be restrained. If He claims to have no appetite, He will be restrained. If He swears and indulges in MEANINGLESS DISCOURSE... He will be restrained. If He throws off his bed-clothes, tears away His bandages, scratches at His sores, and if He does not strive EVERY day and ALWAYS towards His OWN RECOVERY... then He must be restrained.

George III: I am the King of England.
Dr. Willis: NO, sir. You are the PATIENT.

How sad to think that King George may have actually been suffering the effects of arsenic poisoning. Read this: King George III: Mad or Misunderstood? and this: Porphyria or Arsenic?

Whether you are a reader or writer have you ever stumbled across something in history that just grabbed you by the throat and wouldn't let go? Your own magnificent obsession so to speak? That's me and the Regency era. What's your favorite time period in history? What country?

 Jillian is employed as a counselor for nursing students in Cincinnati, Ohio and possesses a masters degree in social work. She is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors and passionate about mental health, wellness, and stomping out the stigma of mental illness. You can also read her August article of The Well Writer which is titled, Writer as Caregiver. You can explore further at her website invites you to join her on Twitter @JillKentAuthor and Facebook


  1. Hi Jillian, Great topic.
    I have a free pdf on my website called "Myths and Mysteries of the Regency," and King George's "madness" is the first of ten that I consider. His treatment truly was one of the more horrific accounts in medical history. If you or any readers would like to read more about the King and to see nine other myths and mysteries of the regency, feel free to download my report here:

    1. Hi Linore,
      I love your website. Who could resist Myths and Mysteries of the Regency. I'll pop by soon and study that one! Have a great Labor Day Weekend!

  2. I think I watched that movie in high school, it was really good. You felt so much for him.

    1. Hi Melissa,
      I hope they did show that in high school. A good historical perspective on mental illness.

  3. Hi Jillian, I think the new name will be a good one, thanks for letting us know of the change. I have not had lot of interest in mental illness -interesting post today. I recently read a book by Liz Trenew and she told story of seamstress who was put in mental hosp to get her away from society though she didn't have a mental problem and took many years before she had anyone help her get out. fictional yet she said there were many that were done that way in real life in earlier years. It was sad story.
    Paula O