King George III’s Royal Blue Urine

In 1810, King George III slipped into pure madness and was soon forced to retire from public life completely. He may be best known in the history books for being the king who lost America, but did you know he had blue urine?

Could his mental illness and pools of blue be related? It could all come down to a genetic blood disorder called porphyria.

Driven to Madness

Many historians attribute George’s madness to a genetic blood disorder called porphyria.

The state King George III was in during the last decade of his life forced his son to take the throne. The former king had lost a majority of his sight and was in constant pain. His once worldly and rich vocabulary quickly diminished, as he began constantly repeating himself and writing long, confusing letters.

It is also rumored he would walk around completely nude.

On top of it all, the blue urine…

For Porphyria’s Sake!

In 1969, a study published in Scientific American suggested King George III suffered from porphyria, a disorder caused by an over-accumulation of porphyrin which helps hemoglobin, the protein that moves oxygen throughout the body.

In some cases, porphyrin is excreted in the urine, giving it a purple hue. In rare cases, like George’s, urine is blue.

Acute porphyria can seriously affect the nervous system. Symptoms include hallucinations, delirium, insomnia, anxiety and even paranoia. To top it all off, the king’s doctors might have worsened this condition and its symptoms by treating George with doses of arsenic, basically poisoning him.

With a reputation for being a little off the rails and the flow of a Smurf, the theory of King George III having porphyria leaves you asking if you believe it…or not!

If only it were gold…


By Ashley Dion, contributor for Ripleys.com