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

 

Long before the concept of “designer babies” created in a lab became the stuff of science fiction, inbreeding in royal families was viewed as a way to ensure genetic purity. Intermarriage ensured that no “common” blood sullied pure, aristocratic blood lines. What could go wrong?

A lot, actually. Birth defects caused by inbreeding were rampant in royal families from Russia to Portugal and even in ancient Egypt, where the practice of sibling marriage was considered godly behavior. Hereditary diseases caused by inbreeding get handed down through thin gene pools, particularly in the many cases where intentional close marriage is used to ensured that royal blood (and its recurrent flaws) are kept in the family. For example, Queen Victoria, a major proponent of pure blood lines, married her cousin Albert, and the two had nine children who then passed hemophilia to royal families throughout Europe. Both King Tut and Charles II of Spain were so deformed by inbreeding that they were unable to walk unaided. Meanwhile, mental illnesses ran rampant throughout many royal families, leading to some very odd royal behavior.

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