The 'glass princess' was always afraid of crumbling in 19th-century Europe
Bavarian princess Alexandra Amelie believed that the glass piano in her body would crumble if she moved vigorously.
Princess Alexandra Amelie (1826-1875), the son of King Ludwig I of the Kingdom of Bavaria (the country in Central Europe existed in 1805-1918, Bavaria is currently the largest state of Germany) always walked through the palace corridor in a way reserved, gently tiptoe and be careful not to touch anything.
Alexandra, then 23, explained that she had just discovered something remarkable. As a child, she swallowed a large piano made entirely of glass. Currently, it remained intact in her body and would shatter if she moved suddenly.
Princess Alexandra's odd thinking is not uncommon. In fact, many royal members, aristocrats and European scholars believe that all or part of their bodies are made of glass. Psychological disorder called "glass paranoia" was first recorded in the Middle Ages and then became popular before almost disappearing in the late 19th century.
One of the first to record this paranoia was the French King Charles VI (1368 - 1422), who ascended the throne at the age of 11. He led the country's reform efforts after handling a number of corrupt regents and was called "venerable" Charles. But from 1392, he began suffering from mental disorders, resulting in violent and eccentric acts for the rest of his life, earning him the nickname "crazy" Charles.
The king believed that his body was made entirely of glass. To keep himself from breaking, Charles would lie motionless for hours, wrapping himself in thick blankets. When on the move, he wore special, solid clothes to protect his "glass" internal organs.
Two famous physicians in the 16th century, Alfonso Ponce de Santa Cruz and Andre du Laurens once told the story of an unnamed aristocrat always lying on a straw bed because he believed he was a glass vase. To cure the disease, the nobleman's physician burned the bed of straw and locked him in the room.
When the nobleman banged on the door for help, the physician asked why he had not broken even though he had banged on the door. The nobleman replied, "I beg you. I don't think I'm a glass vase but the most miserable, if you're going to let this fire kill my life."
Some people believe that they own glass hearts, feet and heads or believe that they are actually glass jars. Many men believe their buttocks are made of glass and it will shatter if they sit down without a pillow tied to their back. Nicole du Plessis, a relative of Cardinal Richelieu (one of France's most prominent politicians), suffers from this paranoia. Another man with similar beliefs was beaten by a physician in the hope that he would feel pain and realize it was his flesh, not glass.
Many people with this paranoia, such as Princess Alexandra and King Charles VI, are considered to be of exceptional intelligence. 16th-century scholars argue that it is the melancholy disease, the depression that aristocrats and geniuses often suffer from. Psychologists speculate that imagining themselves as glass could be a way of showing the weakness, the vulnerability they feel in life. They may want to show sensitivity and desire to be alone.
In ancient times, glass was a precious commodity, mainly used in royal palaces, churches and government buildings. According to Professor Edward Shorter, a psychiatrist at the University of Toronto, people tend to be obsessed with new materials. Before there was a tendency to paranoia about glass, there were cases of believing that their bodies were made of earthenware and in the 19th century, some people believed their bodies were made of materials. so popular at that time was concrete. In modern times, some people are obsessed with technology such as believing that the government has put microchips in their brains or has a computer constantly monitoring them.
In the case of Princess Alexandra, before she believed that she had swallowed the glass instrument, she had symptoms nowadays considered obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): she was so obsessed with cleanliness. Only wear white clothes. The paranoia of the glass piano came after her father, King Ludwig I, bestowed the title and wealth to his mistress, actress and dancer Lola Montez. It was a very stressful time for Princess Alexandra, his only child still living in the palace because he was unmarried.
It is not clear whether the Princess will be cured of paranoia. She did not get married for the rest of her life. In the 1850s, French Prince Louis Lucien Bonaparte (Napoleon's nephew) once proposed to Princess Alexandra but the Bavarian palace refused on the grounds that the Prince had a wife's life and the delicate health of the Princess.
From 1852, Alexandra began a literary career. The princess wrote a number of books and made a profit for the orphanage. She also works as a translator, translating some children's works and plays from French into German. The princess died in 1875 at the age of 49 in Schloss Nymphenburg.
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