Lucy Worsley Investigates “Madness of King George”


Premieres May 22 at 7 p.m.

Lucy delves into the madness of King George to ask what we can learn about how attitudes toward mental health were affected by Britain having a so-called ‘mad’ monarch. Lucy examines recently released royal papers and explores the king’s profoundly tragic personal trauma: the death of two of his young children.

She also explores the enormous political pressures on George as ruler at a time of political upheaval. Revolution was brewing in France; an emperor had been murdered in Russia and Britain was facing the imminent loss of the American colonies after nearly two centuries of British rule.

Speaking with leading experts in psychiatry, it becomes clear to Lucy that all of these enormous stresses led to his bouts of mental illness, which would now have been diagnosed as bipolar disorder. She also investigates how an attempt on his life by a mentally ill woman named Margaret Nicholson affected the King and eventually led to a change in the understanding and treatment of mental illness.

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