Thursday, November 14, 2013

Corpulent Kings

Talk about Chris Christie maybe, someday, becoming president (ain't gonna happen) got me thinking about other fat rulers in history.

Fat Frenchies
In 881 AD, the great-grandson of Charlemagne inherited the great empire he had forged in Europe. While his granddad was known as "the Great," this guy was labeled Charles the Fat. Charles III was considered a sickly, lazy incompetent. Following his reign the Carolingian empire dissolved into a collection of kinglets (a real word). He was also lousy in the sack, managing only a single illegitimate offspring by a prostitute. Most of his later life was spent trying to wriggle into his doublet and getting his bastard kid a crown somewhere. He failed.

In the 11th century France had another rotund monarch, Louis VI, AKA Louis the Fat. His reign was less ignominious and he actually managed to father children.

Bovine Brits
George IV (1762-1830) was a dashing young rake renown for his womanizing and extravagant partying. By the age of 23, the Prince of Wales was nearing bankruptcy. Parliament had to give he a whopping £26 million (adjusted for inflation) to pay off his debts. As George aged he kept up his fast lifestyle, unfortunately he body couldn't follow. His nickname changed from "First Gentleman of Europe" to "Fat Adonis." By the 1820's he suffered from gout and dropsy (edema), was addicted to laudanum (opium), and would spend all day in bed his massive frame barely able to catch it's breath. He was also, probably, insane like his daddy.

Henry VIII was once athletic but like modern football players he ballooned after he became more sedate. At the age of 44 he fell from his horse while jousting, the armored horse then landed on top of him. The resultant injuries combined with his already seriously ulcerated legs put an end to his active days. His excessive eating habits, however, did not change. He ate constantly, up to 13 meals a day. By his death, Henry weighed in at nearly 28 stones (400 pounds).

Yankee Doodle Gross
William Howard Taft was called Big Lub as a youth. He was a chubby baby, a fat child, a heavy youth, and a downright fatty as an adult. He weighed north of 300 pounds and once, famously, got stuck in his bathtub. In more than just profile, Taft is a model of Chris Christie. Handpicked by Teddy Roosevelt to succeed him, Teddy quickly turned on Taft, considering him a namby-pamby moderate. Teddy tried to take the re-nomination away from Taft at the convention and, failing, Teddy ran on a third party, splitting the Republican Party. President Taft ended up third in a three-way race that the Democrat (Woodrow Wilson) won. In 1921, Taft got the job he really wanted, sitting as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Sitting being the one thing he was most suited for.

Eat Like an Egyptian
King Farouk of Egypt obtained the throne at the age of 16 and he loved the perks. He had dozens of palaces and hundreds of cars. He had a massive pornography collection, that he left behind when he abdicated although he did take his huge stockpile of champagne and Scotch. He also loved eating. He would eat caviar for breakfast straight from the can. Farouk weighed over 300 pounds. The CIA once plotted to overthrow him with a plan called Project Fat Fucker. Behind his back, Farouk's friends called him the "stomach with a head." Farouk died as he lived, gorging himself at a restaurant.

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