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6 monarchs who took the throne as children but made very adult decisions
6 monarchs who took the throne as children but made very adult decisions

The burden of power weighs upon the mature and experienced. What can we say about those who had to take on the heavy duty of ruling an entire country at a very tender age? In a word, the milk has not yet dried on his lips, but he is already on the royal throne. Someone managed to strengthen the state, someone caused irreparable harm that several subsequent generations of wise rulers could not fix. Learn about six monarchs who were destined to ascend to the throne as a child, but whose actions and decisions had very adult consequences.

1. Ptolemy XIII Theos Philopator

Ptolemy XIII

The 13th ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty, all his short life, with teeth and nails, desperately clung to the power that constantly eluded him. The young pharaoh ascended the throne of Egypt at the age of 11. According to ancient Egyptian customs, he married his sister Cleopatra. This name is familiar to everyone, in contrast to the name of Ptolemy. She not only overshadowed her husband-brother, she completely destroyed him. Ptolemy even raised a rebellion against Cleopatra, forcing her to flee Egypt.

Caesar and Cleopatra, still from the film of the same name

The young ruler also entered into an alliance with the Roman military leader Pompey. He at that time was at war with Julius Caesar. Ptolemy turned out to be not a very good and choosy ally in the means. When the disgraced commander was defeated and fled to Egypt in search of refuge, the pharaoh killed him. So he tried to impress Caesar in order to win his favor. He did not succeed, his wife turned out to be more agile and resourceful. Cleopatra not only entered into a political alliance with the Roman ruler, she won his heart. As a result, Ptolemy XIII was defeated and defeated. He drowned in the Nile River, fleeing from the vengeance of his wife.

2. Fulin, Emperor Shunzhi

Fulin, Emperor Shunzhi

The third emperor of the Qing dynasty of China was a five-year-old boy named Fulin. He subsequently became known as Emperor Shunzhi. Power came to him after the death of his father in 1643. Since a small child could not rule the country, for several years his uncle, Dorgon, ruled the empire on his behalf. By coincidence, he also died soon. After his death, Fulin himself began to rule the state, who at that time was only twelve.

Despite such a young age, the emperor proved himself from the very beginning to be a very wise and thoughtful ruler. There was a danger of a conspiracy to overthrow him, and Fulin formed an alliance with influential court eunuchs. It was a flimsy agreement, but it saved both the monarch and the empire. Fulin wasted no time. He made every effort to fight corruption and consolidate the empire under Qing rule.

Emperor Shunzhi is remembered as a wise leader and educated person. He devoted a lot of time to the study and development of science. He was very tolerant of various religions. In about 1652, he gave an exquisite reception for the Fifth Dalai Lama in Beijing. At the same time, he also regularly talked and consulted on various issues with an Austrian Jesuit missionary named Johann Adam Schall von Bell. Despite the fact that the emperor did not convert to Catholicism, he considered his advisor Shala the closest.Fulin even called him "grandfather." Shunzhi died of smallpox in 1661. He was only 22 years old. His son, Emperor Kangxi, ruled for over half a century.

3. Emperor Heliogabalus (Elagabalus)

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Heliogabalus or Elagabalus

Elagabal tried on the crown of the emperor of the Roman Empire at the age of fifteen. He ruled for only four years, but it was a very turbulent time. The young emperor was a native of Syria. He gained power in 218 as a result of an uprising, which was raised by his mother and grandmother. Elagabal was the illegitimate son of the recently slain Emperor Caracalla. The young ruler immediately acquired a very scandalous reputation. He stated that the Syrian sun god Elagabal is the supreme deity of Rome. He himself was the high priest of this cult. The reign of this emperor was remembered by his subjects for ugly sexual orgies. Elagabal loved dressing up as a man, then as a woman, and even entered into relationships with animals. Among other things, the emperor allowed his mother to enter the halls of the senate, which were intended exclusively for men. This earned him even greater general contempt.

Most of all, the emperor was remembered for his orgies and all sorts of perverted quirks

It seemed that Elagabal had gone over all the perversions and that he had nothing more to surprise the public with. The bottom was broken by a scandal when the ruler married a vestal. These were the priestesses who were supposed to observe chastity. It was not only a violation of religious norms, the emperor declared that this marriage would produce god-like offspring. As a result, the patience of the Romans ran out and Elagabalus was killed. His cousin Alexander Severus was elevated to the throne of the empire. Elagabalus was later described as one of the most decadent Roman rulers. Some modern historians argue that the eccentricity of his behavior was probably exaggerated by his political opponents in an attempt to discredit.

4. Tutankhamun


Tutankhamun inherited the throne at the age of nine in the 14th century BC. He ruled Egypt for ten years. His reign was not marked by anything special, except for one, but very important thing. The young pharaoh abandoned the unpopular reforms of his father, the "king of heretics" Akhenaten. He made serious changes in society, canceling Akhenaten's decree that the sun god Aton is the only deity. The Egyptian god Amon took his place again. Also Tutankhamun restored the city of Thebes as the capital of the state.

Pharaoh died at a young age under very mysterious circumstances. His death proved to be the most important contribution to history. The fact is that more than three thousand years later, the British Egyptologist Howard Carter discovered the last refuge of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings. It was one of the best-preserved Egyptian burial sites ever discovered. It was it that helped shape the entire modern understanding of ancient Egyptian customs.

After his death, Tutankhamun turned out to be more useful than during his lifetime

5. Mary, Queen of Scots

Mary Stuart

Mary Stuart, better known in history as Mary, Queen of Scots. She became queen as a newborn baby six days old. Naturally, she could not rule the country. The Scottish Parliament ruled for her. Henry VIII raved about the unification of kingdoms and wanted to marry his son Edward to Mary. The Scots opposed this and hid the newborn queen in different castles.

Francis II Mary Stuart

When Maria was five years old, she was taken to France. There, at the age of sixteen, she married Francis II and briefly tried on the French crown. The husband passed away just a few years later, and Maria returned to Scotland. There she married twice more. In 1567, the Queen of Scots abdicated the throne in a rebellion and fled to England. Maria Stewart spent almost two decades in prison. She was executed for conspiracy to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I.

6. Baldwin IV of Jerusalem

Baldwin IV of Jerusalem

Tsar Baldwin IV took over at the age of 15, after the death of his father, Amalric I. In addition to being very young, the boy still suffered from a terrible incurable disease. The teenager had leprosy since childhood.Despite all this, the young ruler became famous for saving Jerusalem. Baldwin IV repeatedly defended his Christian kingdom against Saladin, the famous Muslim conqueror who was the sultan of Egypt and Syria.

Baldwin was a leper and wore a mask

When Saladin marched on Ascalon in 1177, the young King Baldwin IV rushed there with a small detachment of infantry and several hundred Knights Templar. Besieged within the walls of the city by the superior forces of Saladin, the boy managed to withdraw his army from the fortress. After that, he defeated the Muslims at the Battle of Montjisar. Having concluded a brief peace agreement with Saladin, the teenager returned to Jerusalem as a hero. He continued to fight Muslim forces after the end of the truce. The king often had to move on a stretcher when leprosy made him too weak to ride a horse. Baldwin IV's condition deteriorated rapidly over the next several years. When the young man was 23 years old, he died. Only after the death of the clever and brave king did Saladin win a decisive victory at the Battle of Hattin. After that, the Kingdom of Jerusalem practically ended its existence.

If you are interested in this topic, read our other article. Insane Monarchs: The greatest rulers in history who have gone insane.

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