Guest Post: by Dana Ullman, MPH, CCH
The love of homeopathy by the British royal family is well known today, in part because Queen Elizabeth II is patron of the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital and because Prince Charles has taken an active role in his support for homeopathic and “complementary” medicine.
What is less well known is the love for homeopathy by so many other monarchs of yesterday. When one considers that these members of royalty had access to the best of available medical treatment and that there were certainly implications of their choice of less orthodox methods, the large number of monarchs who chose homeopathy represents a significant statement about the value they found in this medical system.
In 1842, an astonishing number of seventy-seven homeopathic physicians were on record to have served as personal physicians to monarchs and their families (Everest, 1842, 200–203).
The British royal family has had a longtime and deep appreciation for homeopathic medicine, ever since Queen Adelaide (1792–1849), wife of King William IV, first made public her special interest in this “new medicine” in 1835. Other British aristocrats shared the queen’s interests, including the Marquess of Anglesey who crossed the British Channel to go to Paris for treatment by the founder of homeopathy, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann.
In 1830, the Earl of Shrewsbury (1791–1852) had asked Hahnemann for the name of a homeopath who could come to England to be his doctor, and Hahnemann suggested Dr. Francesco Romani (1785–1854) of Italy. Dr. Romani’s cures were so remarkable that he soon created a sensation in London and its surrounds. Queen Adelaide heard about this new medical system from his good work. However, the cold climate didn’t suit the Italian homeopath, and he returned home just one year after his arrival (Granier, 1859).
Queen Adelaide had been suffering from a serious malady that the court physicians couldn’t cure. The queen called for the services of one of Hahnemann’s oldest and most faithful colleagues, Dr. Johann Ernst Stapf (1788–1860), who cured her, creating the first of many supporters of homeopathy from British royalty. The British homeopath to the titled Marquess of Anglesey, Dr. Harris Dunsford (1808–1847), wrote a book on homeopathy that was dedicated, with permission, to Queen Adelaide (Dunsford, 1842). This dedication made public her interest in and her appreciation for homeopathy. She was instrumental in helping to establish homeopathy’s early popularity, especially among the upper classes in England.
Various kings and queens of Great Britain since Queen Adelaide have openly sought medical care from homeopathic physicians. Princess May, who later became Queen Mary (1865–1953), wife of King George V, headed the fundraising efforts to move and expand the London Homeopathic Hospital. King George V (1865–1936) was appreciative of homeopathy because it provided him with the real practical benefit of treating his seasickness whenever he suffered from it.
King Edward VII (1841–1910) carried on the homeopathic tradition and was a close drinking and eating partner of Dr. Frederick Hervey Foster Quin (1799–1878), the first British physician to become a homeopath. Edward’s daughter, Maud (1869–1938), married King Haakon VII of Norway, and both sought the homeopathic care of Sir John Weir, MD (see below
King Edward VIII (1894–1972), known as Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor, after his abdication in 1936, carried his homeopathic medicines in powder doses in his pocket.
His brother, King George VI (1895–1952), also had a special love for homeopathy. He even named one of his prize racehorses Hypericum, after a homeopathic medicine for injuries. He was known to be an expert user of homeopathic medicine himself, and he formally granted the use of the royal title to the London Homeopathic Hospital, now called the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital. Today’s Queen Elizabeth II (1926–), King George VI’s daughter, who ascended the throne in 1952, is patron to this important hospital, which underwent a $35 million refurbishing in 2005.
The most famous homeopath to royalty was Sir John Weir (1879–1971), who served six monarchs: King Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor, George VI, Elizabeth II, King Gustav V of Sweden (1858–1950), and King Haakon VII of Norway (1872–1957).
The early growth of homeopathy in Britain in the mid-1800s became possible in large part through royal support and British aristocracy. The first British homeopath to British royalty, Dr. Quin, was a son of the Duchess of Devonshire (1765–1824), and thus himself an aristocrat. When Quin began his full-time homeopathic practice in London in 1832, he primarily treated members of his own noble class. During the mid-1800s, poor people could not usually afford treatment from doctors and instead tended to use the services of herbalists and apothecaries for their health care.
Another reason that the British royalty embraced homeopathy is that its approach of individualized treatment for each person seemed to give them the real sense that they would not be given medicines that would be prescribed for just anybody (Morrell, 1999). This premise of individualization of treatment is an integral part of homeopathy, and it makes sense to educated classes of people.
The fact that the royals have been Christians has probably also helped link them to homeopathy in subtle ways. Homeopathy has had a solid history of support from the clergy in both Europe and the U.S. (see Chapter 13 of my book The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy, Clergy and Spiritual Leaders, for more details on this subject). A board of governors, primarily composed of clerics and bankers and a few titled persons and minor aristocrats, headed most of the homeopathic dispensaries for the poor. This was a consistent pattern in Europe and America.
Not only did British royalty express their support for homeopathy by going to homeopaths and openly encouraging others to do so, they also put their money where their beliefs lay. Many British royalty were patrons to homeopathic organizations and hospitals. HRH Princess Adelaide (the Duchess of Teck) (1880–1940), the Lord Mayor of London, Sir George Wyatt Truscott (1860–1940), the Duchess of Hamilton and Brandon (1865–1940), Lord Cawdor (1870–1914), Lord Robert Grosvenor (1801–1893), the Earl of Wemyss and March (1857–1937), and the Earl of Donoughmore (1875–1944) were but some of a long list of royal patrons to homeopathy.
Others included: the Dukes of Beaufort, Dukes of Cambridge, Earl of Essex, Lord Gray of Gray, Viscount Malden, Lord Ernle, Earl of Kintore, Earl of Kinnaird, the Lords Paget, Dukes of Sutherland, Earls of Dudley, Lord Leconfield, Earl of Wilton, Earl of Albermarle, Viscount Sydney, Lady Radstock, Duke of Northumberland, Earl of Scarborough, Earl of Dysart, Marchioness of Exeter, Countess Waldegrave, Countess of Crawford and Balcarres, Lord Headley, Earl of Plymouth, Lord Calthorpe, Earls of Shrewsbury, Lord Horder, Lord Gainford, Lord Moynihan, Lord Ernle, Lord Ampthill, Lord Home, Viscount Elibank, and the Earls of Lichfield. One can also add numerous knights, barons, military officers, and clerics to this already impressive list.
Sir Henry Tyler (1827–1908) was another titled and rich patron to homeopathy. He not only personally contributed large amounts of money for the expansion of the London Homeopathic Hospital, but his daughter, the later famed Dr. Margaret Tyler (1857–1943), became an influential homeopathic doctor in London. She authored Homoeopathic Drug Pictures, a book that is still popular among practicing homeopaths, and she was the editor of a leading journal simply called Homoeopathy.
It is not surprising that homeopathy in nineteenth-century England came to be called the “rich-man’s therapy.” ….
….Other European Monarchs
Various monarchs throughout Europe were not simply patients of homeopaths; they were also advocates for this system of medicine. Because European royalty usually do not have a history of expressing advocacy without obvious and strong reasons, it is important to ask why so many European monarchs were so supportive of homeopathic medicine. The most obvious reason was that it was extremely effective for them, and, compared with conventional medicine of that day, it was considerably safer than the strong drugs, debilitating bleedings, and use of leeches.
It has been theorized that the British royals (House of Windsor) learned about homeopathy from the German royals, who were all particularly strong advocates of this medical system that was originally founded by a German physician, Samuel Hahnemann, MD. The German kings sought homeopathic care from Dr. Hahnemann and his disciples. Thus, when Queen Victoria (1819–1906) married a German, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1819–1861), the German royals’ interest in homeopathy began to develop even more popularity among British royalty, though Queen Victoria herself was not a vocal supporter of homeopathy.
It should also be noted that the Belgian royalty were also advocates of homeopathy. Prince Leopold, who later became King Leopold I, sought the homeopathic care of Dr. Quin. Royalty from other countries soon also began to seek out homeopathic physicians and even became advocates of this new, safer system of medicine.
Even before Quin became a homeopath, he was a highly respected physician to various royalty. Dr. Quin was even called to become personal physician to Napoleon Bonaparte, though the day before Quin was to attend him, Napoleon died.
(For information on the use of homeopathy by other European royals, please see HERE or Mr. Ullman’s book listed below.)
Royal Homeopathy Today
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II (1926–) is an active supporter of homeopathy. She is patron of the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital, which was originally founded by Dr. Frederick Quin, the first “royal physician.” Her personal homeopath is Dr. Peter Fisher, who is also the medical director of the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital as well as editor of the leading academic journal in the field, Homeopathy (originally called the British Homoeopathic Journal).
Until her death in 2002, at the ripe old age of 101, Her Majesty the Queen Mother, was the principal royal patron of the British Homeopathic Association. The Duke of Gloucester, formerly Prince Richard, remains royal patron of the association. Princess Alice, the late Duchess of Gloucester, was the patron of the Blackie Foundation Trust established in honor of Dr. Margery Blackie, the former royal homeopathic physician who served from 1969 until 1980. At present, Princess Alexandra, Lady Ogilvy, is patron to the Blackie Foundation Trust, and Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe, serves as one of the vice-presidents of this organization.
Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales (1948–), has been the most outspoken modern-day royal family member to advocate for what he has popularized as “complementary medicine.” In 1982, he became president of the British Medical Association, and made it his mission to get the medical community to understand the problems and limitations of orthodox medicine and to appreciate the contributions of various complementary therapies, including homeopathy.
In 1996, the prince established what is now called The Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health (FIH) and made a substantial contribution toward a £2 million endowment for the charity. In February 1996, he convened and chaired a seminar involving various health care professionals to discuss practical steps to improve communication and cooperation among all those concerned with the provision of health care. As a result, working groups were created to examine requirements for research and development, education and training, regulation, and the delivery of integrated care….
Prince Charles may be the most vocal royal proponent of homeopathic medicine, but he and the queen certainly are not alone. Diana, Princess of Wales, Prince Andrew, and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, sought homeopathic care from Jack Temple, an unconventional homeopath who died in 2004 at age 86 (Daily Telegraph, 2004; Rayner and Paveley, 2001). Princess Diana was also a regular at the Hale Clinic, an “alternative and complementary medicine” clinic in London, which was opened by Prince Charles. Simone Simmons, an “alternative healer” and close confidante of Diana, confirmed what many others have known, that “Prince Charles only uses homeopathic and complementary medicines as Diana and the children did.” (Daily Mail, 2005).
In 1997, Sarah, Duchess of York, made an unannounced trip to Dr. Isaac Mathai’s holistic health center in Bangalore, India. A reporter asked her: Now that you had holistic treatment, what is your perception about alternative healing methods? Sarah replied, “We were on the homeopathic system at home for a long time. My grandmother, who died in December (1996), was a homeopathic practitioner. As children, we were given Arnica for colds and other ailments.” (The Week, 1997).
Used with permission, excerpted from:
The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy
(North Atlantic Books/Random House, 2007)
by Dana Ullman, MPH Copyright 2007;
Publication date: October, 2007
DANA ULLMAN, MPH, CCH, is one of America’s leading advocates for homeopathy. He has authored 10 books, including The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy, Homeopathy A-Z, Homeopathic Medicines for Children and Infants, Discovering Homeopathy, and (the best-selling) Everybody’s Guide to Homeopathic Medicines (with Stephen Cummings, MD). Dana also authored an ebook that is a continually growing resource to 200+ clinical studies published in peer-review medical journals testing homeopathic medicines. This ebook combines the descriptions of these studies with practical clinical information on how to use homeopathic medicines for 100+ common ailments. This ebook is entitled Evidence Based Homeopathic Family Medicine, and it is an invaluable resource. Dana has been certified in classical homeopathy by the leading organization in the U.S. for professional homeopaths.
He is the founder of Homeopathic Educational Services, America’s leading resource center for homeopathic books, tapes, medicines, software, and correspondence courses. Homeopathic Educational Services has co-published over 35 books on homeopathy with North Atlantic Books.
Dana writes a regular column for the wildly popular website, www.huffingtonpost.com (to access these articles, click HERE!)
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