It should be remembered that a few minutes before the birth, the royal baby was most likely completely fine and his left arm was damaged only during the birth due to the unprofessional intervention of the doctor called. He tried to relieve the mother and speed up the difficult birth as much as possible by using the then-known delivery forceps. But something didn’t go as it should have, and misfortune was in the world along with the newborn heir to the throne.
A failed noble child
Being born into a royal family with a so-called silver spoon in one’s mouth must have been a big win. At least we could imagine it that way. But it wasn’t always like that. When the child “failed” a bit, it was not easy at all. The pressure for excellence on noble children was great. And in the case of the expected heir to the throne, of course, even bigger. The unfortunate future king William II. but was born in 1859 with a disabled hand.
How his parents reacted to it, the next Prussian and German monarch Frederick III. and new mother Victoria, daughter of the English monarch of the same name?
The best for a child?
It was clear that it wouldn’t work like this. It was impossible to show the disabled boy to his subjects with such pomp, moreover, in the future he was supposed to take care of his entire territory, so it was not excluded that he would go into battle. It would be much worse with a limp hand. And so the mother involved all her contacts in her native country to summon the best doctor at the time, to whom she entrusted her son to care. Today, however, we would probably shake our heads at their methods. The child went through such suffering that we would certainly not wish even on our enemies. How could a little boy understand that the doctors poured ice water over his crippled hand? But that wasn’t all.
In the hands of doctors – torturers
Doctors believed that the future ruler needed much more strain and training on the crippled hand to get used to the movement it was supposed to handle. From their point of view, they chose a simple method for this – they simply made it impossible for him to use his right, i.e. the healthy, arm. How? In short, they tied it to his torso so tightly that he couldn’t get out. What must have been the suffering of little Vilém, who only had a disabled hand at his disposal?
And now the spine…
To make matters worse, he started having problems with his spine in his later childhood. The boy was beginning to slouch. Even this imperfection, the doctors decided to correct – and again they chose a seemingly easy solution. An iron bar attached to the boy’s torso prevented any bending of the spine. If the doctors were already making life difficult for the child, surely he could at least lean on his parents, we would think. But Vilém didn’t get to see that either. The father was busy with his duties, and his mother was clearly not very interested in the disabled child. If she felt sorry for anyone at all, it was only herself. Having a disabled child was definitely not her dream. And she treated her son accordingly.
No love in childhood, no mercy in adulthood
After all, even Vilém himself did not develop a loving relationship with his mother, and as an adult he did everything to follow in different footsteps than she herself wished. He became an implacable opponent of the parliament, and as the last German emperor, he also saw the beginning of the First World War, in the origin of which some historians also attribute a certain share to him. Moreover, he was no saint in his personal life either, when his penchant for sadomasochistic practices became an open secret, infidelities were the order of the day and those around him were busy trying to mask the scandals as best they could. Who knows how the situation in Europe would have developed if one obstetrician had been more careful back then in 1859?
Source: wikipedia, idnes, epochaplus,
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