An inbred King defied death for years after suffering the result of his family deciding new genes were less important than a 'pure' royal bloodline.
King Charles II of Spain was the product of almost 200 years of selective inbreeding after the House of Habsburgs called time on bringing new blood into the fold in 1550.
The King himself was the product of a rendezvous between a niece and her uncle and by the age of six had managed to survive a list of diseases that would have been expected to kill him.
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Smallpox, rubella and measles all featured in the string of ailments suffered by the young royal who wasn’t even able to walk until he was eight.
In the end, he lived to the relatively ripe old age of 39, passing away in 1700.
After his death, the real state of his health was laid bare in an autopsy.
The report read his, “heart was the size of a peppercorn; his lungs corroded; his intestines rotten and gangrenous; he had a single testicle, black as coal, and his head was full of water."
Historians Will and Ariel Durant described the monarch as: "Short, lame, epileptic, senile, and completely bald before 35, always on the verge of death but repeatedly baffling Christendom by continuing to live."
Unable to chew his own food he was impossible to understand because he had such an enormous tongue.
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"The king is rather short, skinny, but not badly formed, only ugly in the face; he has a long neck, a long face, a long chin and as if it bent upwards; the lower lip typical of the Habsburgs; not very large eyes, turquoise blue, and a fine and delicate complexion,” papal nuncio Millini once said in a description of the monarch.
“He has a look with melancholy on his face and a little astonished.
“His hair is blond and long, and it is combed back so that the ears are exposed. He cannot stand upright unless he leans against a wall, a table, or something else.”
Perhaps most savagely, he added: “His body is as weak as his mind. Occasionally, he shows signs of intelligence, memory, and a certain liveliness, but not consistently; he usually appears slow and indifferent, seemingly dumbfounded.
“You can do whatever you want with him since he lacks his own will."
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