Home / Series / Royal Deaths and Diseases / Aired Order /

All Seasons

Season 1

  • S01E01 Living by the Sword

    • January 3, 2003

    The extraordinary fates of Richard the Lionheart, struck down by a crossbow bolt, and Henry V, critically wounded when an arrow lodged in his skull. The Civil War made the battlefield even more dangerous with the advent of gunpowder - and long-range muskets and cannons meant there was no sanctuary for Charles I

  • S01E02 Madness

    • January 10, 2003

    A mad monarch is a national disaster, and this programme explores royal insanity in Britain and the unbelievable ways in which it was treated, from drilling the skull to the use of leeches. It examines the famous madness of George III, Queen Victoria's clinical depression and Henry VI's acute schizophrenia and includes diagnoses from modern medical experts

  • S01E03 Decadence

    • January 17, 2003

    Extravagance, gluttony and infidelity have been the weaknesses of many British rulers, with medical consequences ranging from gout to syphilis and obesity to drug addiction - at times turning the monarchy into a national joke. This film examines examples, including Henry VIII's vast overeating, Charles II's death at the hands of his own court physicians and George IV's opium-fuelled reign - and reveals how public ridicule eventually forced the royal family to conduct themselves with rather more decorum

  • S01E04 Tainted Blood

    • January 24, 2003

    The history of the royal family contains many instances of unexplained illnesses and premature death - George III's madness, the downfall of Mary Queen of Scots and Rasputin bringing down the Russian throne can all be linked to Queen Victoria. This episode explores how, in trying to preserve the bloodline, the monarchy may have spread genetic disease far and wide - from porphyria wreaking havoc with British royals to haemophilia finding its way from Buckingham Palace to Moscow.

  • S01E05 Royal Birth

    • January 31, 2003

    Exploring royal childbirth. Modern doctors reveal the mystery behind why Mary Tudor was unable to give birth, and offer explanations for the tragic tale of Queen Anne, who despite enduring 17 pregnancies, had no heir to survive her. Also revealed is the battle between midwives and obstetricians which ultimately brought Queen Victoria to the throne.