Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria

From the Mad Monarchist:
Although he may not have been what the world would consider a “successful” monarch, I have always had a soft spot for the Austrian Emperor Ferdinand I. He was, undoubtedly, handicapped but probably not so disabled as most people think and he was a very kind man, a devoutly religious man and a monarch who did the best he could for as long as he could. He was born on April 19, 1793, the first son of the Holy Roman Emperor Francis II and his consort Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily. Unfortunately, because the two were so closely related (being double first cousins), Ferdinand was born with some severe disabilities. The Emperor was overjoyed with the birth of his little boy, looking with his heart rather than his head, and hurriedly announced the arrival of a “healthy” baby which was certainly not the case. Medical staff had to work hard to keep him alive and it was evident from his unusually large head that he had severe problems. Among his ailments were water on the brain, soft bones and severe epilepsy, causing him to have as many as twenty seizures a day. There were also other neurological problems that became evident as he grew older. He was, for example, very slow in learning to talk and when he did, suffered from a considerable speech impediment. (Read entire post.)

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