Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Hello lovely people, If you’re new here, hello, I’m Jessica, I make amusing and educational videos about disability, sexuality, vintage fashion and history. If you think you’d enjoy spending time with a girl from another century learning about interesting things that have happened in the past then click subscribe! I love making profiles on famous disabled figures from history and today we’re going to be talking about King Charles II of Spain and how the dynasty that dominated Europe for 500 years was undone by incest. Charles was nicknamed ‘El Hechizado’- the Hexed- (voiceover provided by my dear Spanish friend Clara) because people at the time believed that his physical and mental disabilities were the result of sorcery. A new study into the genetics of his immediate ancestors has found that he was so inbred that he actually suffered from at least two inherited disorders. But that’s not how the Hapsburgs started out… - I apologise in advance for the fact I say ‘Hapsburg’ rather than ‘Habsburg’, it’s just the way I’ve always been taught history and it’s stuck in my head. The English like to anglicise words in their schoolrooms because- Colonialism. The Hapsburg dynasty was one of the most important and influential royal families in Europe. It was founded in 11th century Austria and produced Kings and Emperors of the Kingdom of Bohemia, Croatia, Illyria, Portugal, Austria, Hungary, Belgium, the Netherlands and the German empire… as well as several Dutch and Italian principalities. And if that sounds like ‘most of Europe’ to you… that’s because it is! [ding] Don’t worry about France being missing, they married Frenchmen too. - Mainly ones they were related to. From the 16th century, following the reign of Charles V, the dynasty was split between its Austrian and Spanish branches. Although they ruled distinct territories, they nevertheless maintained unfortunately close relations and frequently intermaried. The family motto makes this clear: “Let others wage wars, but you, happy Austria, shall marry” The Hapsburgs believed passionately in dynastic marriage. That’s the practice by which members of ruling dynasties marry into other reigning families. Monarchs were often pursuing national or international aggrandisement, hoping that bonds of kinship would restrain aggression and promote political unity. It also enhanced territorial acquisition, and the inheritance pot. Now, dynastic marriages may seem like a great idea… but they’re really, really not. Growing your wealth and power seems like a great thing but unfortunately the Hapsburgs were just too darn good at it. As I said, they were soon ruling most of Europe and… that really only left each other to marry! In 1700 there was a sudden demise of the royal Spanish branch of the family and scientists now believe they have a definitive explanation as to why. The very last Spanish Hapsburg king, Charles II, had a family tree that was… complex. Really, really complex… His mother was his father’s niece. His grandmother was also his aunt. His paternal grandparents were also his maternal great grandparents. And all of his great grandparents were descended from the same two people. That’s… that was never going to be a good idea. Scientists have found that with no let up on the amount of intermarriage, the degree of genetic inbreeding gradually built up. The founder of the Spanish dynasty, Philip I, is calculated to have an inbreeding coefficient of 0.025, which meant that just 2.5 per cent of his genes were likely to be identical by common descent. But 200 years and seven generations later, the coefficient had leapt ten-fold to 0.25 in the genome of Charles II, meaning up to one in four of his genes might have been identical. Yes, a quarter. That’s the same as the risks to the offspring of a brother and sister or a parent and child. The medical dangers here are obvious: defective, recessive genes can come together in one person and manifest into… The unfortunate Charles II. Charles’s father, Philip IV, didn’t have it great either. He was only 10 years old when his parents arranged his first marriage to the daughter of the French king. - see, I told you they married French people! Out of their eight children, only two were boys and both died. One of them, Maria Theresa, you may recognise from the TV show Versailles as she married Louis XIV of France and (spoiler) actually managed to have children. At the age of 41 and now a widower, Philip remarried… his own 12 year old niece, Maria Anna, lover of massive dresses, probably not a lover of where her life was going. Only two of their five children survived to adulthood, Margarita Teresa and Charles. Although no one really believed Charles would make it out of childhood. Contemporary writings called the baby “big headed” and “weak”. He was described as “short, lame, epileptic, senile and completely bald before 35, always on the verge of death but repeatedly baffling Christendom by continuing to live.” Go Charles! By this point this ‘Hapsburg lip’ or ‘Hapsburg jaw’ was well known. It’s an inherited mandibular prognathism, which means the lower jaw grows faster than the upper, resulting in an extended chin. It was a family trait but due to Charles being the most Hapsburg Hapsburg to ever Hapsburg his case was very extreme. His lips were unable to meet and his tongue was too large which meant he had difficulty swallowing, eating or not drooling. - try it right now: keep your mouth open and your tongue flat then try to swallow. Nope. You have to form a seal with either your lips or tongue. Charles spoke and ate only with extreme difficulty and was not able to form words until the age of four, nor walk until the age of eight. He suffered from convulsions, intestinal upsets, edemas and hallucinations. However, foreign observers did note that his mental capacities remained intact. Which is probably worse for him because he knew who to blame. Absolutely all of his ancestors! Intentional inbreeding: we know better than to do it to dogs now(!) Professor Gonzalo Alvarez, of the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, (thanks Clara), found that the Hapsburgs suffered a far higher child mortality than the general population, even though the family was immensely wealthy and did not experience the poverty related health problems faced by many people at the time. They even had doctors! … and intentional inbreeding! Again, guys, no. Don’t- don’t do that. Fun fact: Marie Antoinette also inherited the Hapsburg jaw but hers was minor enough to just make it look like she was pouting all the time in an attractive way… although it probably didn’t endear her to people who weren’t attracted to her. However, the impact of this inbreeding isn’t really fully understood as Charles’ full-blood sister Margaret Theresa had absolutely none of his health problems and was both attractive and healthy with a lively character. She also died at the age of 21- but she’d already been pregnant six times so I feel like this may be a circumstantial thing more than it is genetic. Oh also they married her to her uncle-slash-cousin because apparently no one had learnt any lessons ever. She called him ‘Uncle’ throughout their marriage and it was a bit weird. Professor Alvarez suggests that Charles II had inherited genes that caused two genetic disorders: one was a hormone imbalance called pituitary hormone deficiency, which would have affected his growth and development, and the other was a kidney problem that led to a metabolic disorder which caused impotence and infertility. “His muscular weakness at a young age, rickets, haematuria [blood in the urine] and big head relative to his body size could be attributed to this genetic disorder,” he said. Although, others have pointed out that rather than being deficient in growth hormone he may have had too much, resulting in acromegaly. That’s a condition where people continue to grow once their growth plates have fused. But these conditions aren’t necessarily genetic and some scientists believe that there is no conclusive evidence they were caused by detrimental recessive alleles inherited from common ancestors. Despite all of this, Charles became King at the age of three, when his father, Philip IV died in 1665. As he was a legal minor his mother ruled as Queen Regent creating a bitter internal struggle for control of the government with Philip’s illegitimate half-brother John of Austria the Younger. John eventually won but then died in the late 1670s, not before arranging 18-year-old Charles' possible marriage to Marie Louise of Orleans, eldest daughter of Philippe, Duke of Orleans, who you may also recognise from the TV show Versailles. It’s a good show. Watch it. However, the French ambassador wrote that '...the Catholic King is so ugly as to cause fear and he looks ill' and the marriage was so strongly resisted by the prospective bride that-! It went ahead regardless. This is history, what were you expecting to happen? A woman to get her way? [laughs] No friend. Charles was devoted to his bride, even when his mother returned as Regent and did her utmost to isolate Marie Louise (for being the choice of her rival and… French. They’re still iffy on the French). The couple… struggled to get anywhere with making babies… which was really not the poor girl’s fault but she was put through severe intestinal problems due to weird fertility treatments and was very unpopular due to the lack of an heir.