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George III Loses America and His Mind

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hope your 4th was a great one! I enjoyed the awesome fireworks we watched last evening and am very grateful to live in the USA. However, I'm also a fan of Great Britain and its history.

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' me and the Regency era. What's your favorite time period in history? What country?


  1. I've never been an English history buff, but the pioneering of western Canada intrigues me. Even as an adult I still love watching films like "Little House on the Prairie", and I have many books about settling in our northern frontiers in the early 1900s. Perhaps my interest was nurtured because my parents chose to move away from the city in the 1960s and build a home in the relative wilderness of BC's Cariboo country. Modern day adventurers. :) I write contemporary fiction but there's a lure to northern locales... and it's the setting of one of my novels.

  2. Hi Carol,
    It does sound like those modern day adventurers had an influence on you.:) I love Little House too and I grew up on a farm but never had any desire to write about such things. Thanks for weighing in, Carol!

  3. That is a wonderful but sad movie. I remember great performances.

  4. Hi Rosslyn,
    One of the parts I remember most is when the woman from the village tries to stab King George III with a fruit knife. After the initial shock, he protects her from those who would have harmed for the attack, recognizing her illness. Thanks for stopping by. It's so fun to have your book on my TBR pile. :)