PRESS RELEASE – Bioscientist helps explain the madness of King George III

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University of Kent bioscientist Professor Martin Warren will showcase his research into what caused the madness of George III when he speaks at an event to celebrate the anniversary of the king’s 275th birthday.

Professor Warren, who is Head of the University’s School of Biosciences, pioneered the use of scientific historiography to study the probable causes of the king’s madness. He will present his research through a talk and tour at London’s Wellcome Collection – which features a lock of George’s hair in its Medicine Man gallery – on Tuesday 4 June.

Professor Warren said: ‘I will be explaining how, through the forensic analysis of artefacts such as hair samples, it is possible to make a retrospective diagnosis of the king’s condition.

‘The evidence we have gained through our investigations supports the idea that George III suffered with a metabolic disorder called porphyria, a disease that has a range of symptoms from abdominal pain to madness. Our findings also showed that the treatment afforded to the king by his physicians actually made his condition worse.’

The Wellcome Collection event to celebrate the birthday of King George III (1738-1820) will feature free themed tours, object handling sessions and spotlight tours as well as Professor Warren’s talk at 4pm. For more see:

George III was the third Hanoverian king of Great Britain. During his reign, Britain lost its American colonies but emerged as a leading power in Europe. He suffered from recurrent fits of madness and, after 1810, his son acted as regent.


For further information or interview requests journalists should contact the Press Office at the University of Kent

Tel: 01227 823100/823581


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