10 Mad Royals in History

Farouk of Egypt
Egypt's deposed King Farouk posed with his family on the Isle of Capri where he was in exile, in 1953. © Bettmann/CORBIS

Royals in Europe don't hold a monopoly on crazy behavior. Case in point: King Farouk of Egypt, who ascended to the throne in 1936. He was said to have mysophobia, an intense fear of contamination that caused him to search for imaginary bits of dirt. He only drove red cars and banned anyone else from owning a red one. He supposedly shot out the tires of vehicles that tried to pass him on the road. Farouk was also reportedly a packrat and a kleptomaniac, and legend has it that he stole Winston Churchill's watch [sources: Crompton, Scriba].

Though celebrated by nobility in his early years, Farouk's subjects didn't care for his shopping sprees, food indulgences, wild expenditures and corrupt governing. They also were unhappy with the loss of most of Palestine after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and its occupation by British forces [source: Cavendish].

The king was overthrown during the Egyptian Revolution in 1952, and his infant son was declared ruler -- although in truth the country was governed by a nationalistic group of officers within Egypt's army. The monarchy was dissolved in 1953, and Farouk died of a heart attack in Italy in 1965 after consuming a huge dinner of a dozen oysters, lobster thermidor, a double portion of roast lamb with fried potatoes and a large helping of trifle for dessert [sources: Cavendish, Scriba].