For information about the use of homeopathy by England's royals, see this post on English Historical Fiction Authors. What is posted below is the remainder of the same chapter of The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy by Dana Ullman (see below) concerning non-English royals.
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.
There is some evidence and some significant controversy about Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte’s (1769–1821) interest in homeopathy. To provide historical context, it is useful to note that when Napoleon’s army retreated from Russia in 1812, as typhus ravaged his soldiers, news of the successes of homeopathy in treating this epidemic spread throughout Europe. In fact, Hahnemann and homeopathy’s first notoriety resulted from successful treatment of people suffering from typhus during this time (Wells, 1879; Coulter, 1977, II, 315). Napoleon’s next battle and serious loss took place in 1813 in Leipzig (Germany), where Hahnemann lived at the time. Napoleon’s army was defeated by an Austrian army led by General and Prince Karl Phillip von Schwarzenberg (1771–1820), who later became Hahnemann’s patient and a supporter of homeopathy.
Richard Haehl, MD, the leading biographer of Hahnemann, noted that Napoleon was treated by a homeopath some time after the Battle of Leipzig and had such a positive experience that he expressed extremely strong appreciation for this system of medicine. Haehl wrote:
"When Napoleon was treated by Dr. [J. P.] Maragnot on the isle of Elba by the homeopathic system for a dangerous form of pityriasis (a skin disease) and the Emperor regained his health, he made his physician acquaint him with the meaning and advantages of the new art of healing, and called it 'the most beneficent discovery since the invention of the art of printing.'" (Haehl, 1922, II, 159; also Ewers, 1826, 155; Baumann, 1857, 15;, Krauss, 1925).
Haehl further reported that Napoleon planned, in 1813 upon his return to France, “to have homeopathy taught in all the medical schools of his kingdom”—but he never returned to power in France. However, Haehl also reported that Hahnemann wrote, on October 17, 1825, that he was suspicious of the accuracy of this reporting and described this information as “improbable, such palpably invented tales, which are utterly devoid of proof” (Haehl, 1922, II, 142). None of the leading biographies of Napoleon make similar reference to his interest in or experience with homeopathy, and one would have to expect some references to homeopathy if these statements are true. There is much more evidence that Napoleon himself was primarily treated by orthodox physicians of his day and that their medical treatments hastened his death from stomach cancer (Lugli, et al., 2007).
In a book published as a memorial to Constantine Hering, MD (1800–1880), Hering’s opposition to courting favor with government leaders was described. He preferred to have his own cause slighted than introduced by force, which is what nearly happened when Napoleon read Hahnemann’s Organon (the first book describing the homeopathic science and art, initially published in 1810) before his march into Russia in 1812. However, speaking after the fact, Hering was glad that Napoleon was overthrown because Hering considered any restraint upon the arts and sciences as odious as the loss of personal liberty (Hering, 1880, 86–87).
There is much more evidence about Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte (aka Napoleon III) (1808–1873) and his special interest in and appreciation for homeopathy. Napoleon III was Napoleon I’s nephew, and he served as the president of France during 1849–1852 and then emperor until 1870. Napoleon III received homeopathic treatment from A. J. Davet (1797–1873), one of Hahnemann’s early students of “pure” homeopathy. Dr. Davet was decorated with the Knight’s Cross of the Legion of Honor by Napoleon III for his homeopathic treatment of the emperor. Italian by birth and French by adoption, Davet became physician to the ambassador to Italy and to the Italian prime minister (Hunt, 1863; Bradford, 1897).
Napoleon III also received homeopathic treatment from Dr. Alexandre Charge (1810–1890), who had gone to the south of France to treat villagers during a major cholera epidemic (Haehl, 1922, II, 463; Payne, 1855, 27). For the exceptional care that Dr. Charge provided during this epidemic, Napoleon III bestowed the Legion of Honor upon him. Records show that he treated 1,662 cases of cholera and had only forty-nine deaths (2.9 percent) in 1849, as compared with 10 percent or higher at other hospitals. Pope Pius IX also granted Dr. Charge the Order of St. Gregory the Great, “in consideration of the services he rendered during the cholera epidemic” (Hunt, 1863, 121).
Empress Eugenie (1826–1920), wife of Napoleon III, introduced homeopathic medicine to her husband. She sought care from her own homeopath, Dr. Jules Bocco (Hunt, 1863, 123), and in 1855, from Dr. Clemens Maria Franz von Böenninghausen (1785–1864), of Münster in Westphalia (Germany), whom Hahnemann considered to be one of his best students and most respected colleagues (Haehl, 1922, I, 397).
In 1861, Eugenie took special pleasure in honoring Count des Guidi (1769–1863), the first and oldest homeopathic physician in France, declaring, “You have rendered great service to humanity” (Vingtrinier, 1860).
On April 20, 1861, Napoleon III awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Legion of Honor to von Böenninghausen,. The eldest of von Böenninghausen’s sons, Karl, ended up marrying the adopted daughter of Melanie Hahnemann (Samuel Hahnemann’s second wife). With Melanie Hahnemann’s connections to Napoleon III, she was able to get the emperor’s permission to grant her new son-in-law the right to practice homeopathic medicine in Paris without taking the usual medical examination (Handley, 1990, 195).
Napoleon III also bestowed the Knight’s Cross of the Legion of Honor upon Dr. J. Mabit (1781–1846). Dr. Mabit was head of a hospital in Bordeaux where he provided homeopathic and allopathic treatment, and upon comparing his results, he consistently found the superiority of homeopathic medicines (www.homeoint.org). Dr. Mabit was also a close friend of René Laënnec (1781–1826), who invented the stethoscope, and Dr. Mabit was the first doctor in Bordeaux to use this new technology.
The history of the Bonaparte family’s use of homeopathy was not always positive. The health crisis and ultimate death of Napoleon’s 21-year old niece, Bathilde Bonaparte, created a drama in the household and in the country. Bathilde was married to Louis Cambacérès, son of Jean-Jacques-Régis de Cambacérès, the lawyer, statesman, and author of the Napoleonic Code. Napoleon insisted that his niece see an allopath, Dr. Rayer, while the Cambacérès family insisted upon homeopathic treatment. When she died four months later, after repeated bloodlettings, the Cambacérès family and the homeopaths blamed the allopaths, and the allopaths blamed the homeopaths (Poulet, 1973; Poulet, no date).
Other members of the Bonaparte family owed their life to homeopathy. The half-brother of Napoleon III, Charles Auguste Louis Joseph (1811–1865), later made duc de Morny, contracted cholera in the 1850s but was saved by homeopathic medicines (British Journal of Homeopathy, 1854).
Napoleon Bonaparte’s elder brother, Joseph Bonaparte (1768–1844), also sought care from a homeopathic doctor, Dr. Jules Bocco, when he served as king of Naples and king of Spain (Hunt, 1863, 123).
Even before Napoleon III came to power, King Louis Philippe (1773–1850), France’s last king, was partial in some way to homeopathy. Upon Hahnemann’s arrival in Paris, his French wife, Melanie, requested from the king and received permission through her friend, the minister of education, M. Guizot, for Hahnemann to practice homeopathy (Haehl, II, 345).
Homeopathy also became popular among several monarchs in Russia during its early history. Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich Romanov (1779–1831) openly patronized homeopathy by keeping Dr. Jean Bigel (1769–?), a homeopathic doctor, as his personal physician, as did the grand duchess (Bojanus, 1876). The grand duke was so pleased with the homeopathic treatment of his family that he insisted that Dr. Bigel also provide care for 500 sons of soldiers (Bojanus, 1876). Dr. Bigel became a significant advocate for homeopathy in Russia, authoring a popular book on the subject and then even translating into French one of Hahnemann’s important books on chronic disease.
Two of Grand Duke Constantine’s brothers, Grand Duke Mikhail and Emperor Nicholas I (1796–1855), also became interested in the new teaching. Emperor Nicholas, who later became Czar Nicholas, was known personally to influence many physicians to study it, and he never went into the country without his case of homeopathic medicines. But even the emperor, gifted with unequaled force of character, with an iron will, and with all of the power of his position, still could not, as Dr. Carl Frantz Von Villers said, break down “the Chinese wall by which the medical hierarchy surrounds its domain” (Historical and Statistical Report, 1876).
In 1841 a homeopathic hospital was established in Moscow, and in 1849, another hospital was built in Nizhniy-Novgorod (Russia’s fourth largest city). Homeopathy developed even greater popularity during the next several decades due to support from Russian monarchs, as well as from Russian clergy (see Chapter 13, Clergy and Spiritual Leaders), enabling homeopathy to be practiced in the huge country’s most remote corners.
Nicholas I married Alexandra Feodorovna (1798–1860), who previously was Princess Charlotte of Prussia. Empress Alexandra had enough appreciation for homeopathy that she commissioned a British homeopathic pharmacy, Ashton & Parsons, to make a special homeopathic medicine kit with her emblem. One of these kits, which sold on eBay in May 2006, bore the Romanov crest and the crown of Great Britain.
One of the daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra was Olga (1822–1892), who later became Queen Olga of Württemberg by marrying Crown Prince (later King) Karl of Württemberg in 1846. Queen Olga of Württemberg was a “true homeopath, and she let everybody know it” (Hoyle, 1913, 249). When she was vacationing at Lake Geneva, Switzerland, she broke her leg. She was so pleased with the homeopathic treatment she received from Dr. Alfons Beck that she insisted he come to St. Petersburg to be her personal homeopath. Dr. Beck stayed there for five years, until his own health led to his return to Switzerland (Schmidt, 1926). After Queen Olga’s death, a British physician who visited Russia asserted that her support for homeopathy was “one reason why homeopathy has taken such a firm hold on this Kingdom, despite the severe and ever-present allopathic opposition of which many tales were told to me” (Hoyle, 1913, 249).
Shortly after Dr. Beck’s return, another Russian princess sought his care for a serious condition of genital cancer that had spread to her rectum and breasts. She realized the difficult challenge her health posed, and she promised him additional payments for every month that she lived. She summoned him on New Year’s day to give him a gift. Following the etiquette of Russian nobility, that the gift be placed on the ground and the recipient kneel to get it, she placed an exquisite golden cigarette case on the rug at her feet. Dr. Beck was a venerable old man at the time, and rather than kneel to pick it up, he replied, “Princess, I have never gone on my knees to receive a gift. Keep it for yourself and do not forget that I am your physician.” The princess was so impressed by the dignity that Beck showed that she bent at his feet and offered it to him (Schmidt, 1926).
After Czar Alexander II (1818–1881), who was an advocate for homeopathy, was assassinated, a homeopathic hospital was erected in St. Petersburg, and named after him. His predecessor, Emperor Alexander III, give 5,000 rubles to the cause (Kotok, 2000). Some of the beds in the hospital were named after Emperor Nicholas, the Empress Maria Feodorovna, and Emperor Alexander III (Encyclopedia Britannica). In addition, donations from the minister of communications, the minister of the interior, and leading members of the imperial court supported the development of this homeopathic hospital. However, in 1918, shortly after the communists overthrew the Russian government, the hospital was turned over to conventional physicians.
The early history of homeopathy in Finland is directly linked with that of the Russian royalty. In 1809, Sweden was forced to grant its former province Finland to Russia. From this time until the Russian Revolution, Finland was under the control of the Russian empire.
In 1871, the governor general of Finland, Count Nikolai Adlerberg (1819–1892), invited a highly respected German homeopath, Dr Eduard von Grauvogl (1811–1877), to introduce homeopathy in Helsinki. Grauvogl accepted the invitation as long as he could bring a reliable pharmacist with him, a condition he was granted (Jütte, 2006, 31).
Czar Alexander II granted Dr. Grauvogl two sickrooms in the Helsinki military hospital to treat patients. Grauvogl also maintained a successful private practice, attracting patients from as far away as St. Petersburg. However, he soon complained about extreme hostilities from allopathic doctors and pharmacists who made his practice difficult. Grauvogl was concerned that only chronically ill patients were transferred to his homeopathic ward in the military hospital, which led to a higher mortality rate.
His benefactor, the governor general, fell seriously ill while they were traveling together on an inspection journey through the country, and Grauvogl was forced to devote his time entirely to the treatment of his important patient. He was quite aware of the consequences he would face if his homeopathic treatment was unsuccessful. As it turned out, the governor general did recover, and the czar bestowed the Order of St. Anne on Grauvogl. Sadly, Grauvogl continued to experience great hostility from his antagonists, and he chose to return to his Munich home just two years later (Jütte, 2006, 32).
Even before Hahnemann developed homeopathy, he was respected enough as a physician to serve German royalty. In 1797, he was physician to Duke Ernst of Gotha and Georgenthal (Haehl, 1922, II, 125).
Hahnemann’s mother country granted him and homeopathy much support. Wherever he lived in Germany, Hahnemann was able to obtain special permission from the local ruling government to practice homeopathy and dispense his own medicines, a privilege rarely granted due to the strong antagonism from local apothecaries.
In 1822, Hahnemann was honored by Ferdinand, Duke of Anhalt (a region in Germany in which Hahnemann resided while living in Köethen), who named him to be “Hofrath,” a special distinction given to leading members of society (Haehl, 1922, II, 132).
Hahnemann’s nephew, Dr. C. Bernhard Trinius (1775–1844), was a homeopath as well, and he became physician to the princess of Württemberg, as well as the duke of Coburg and Gotha (Haehl, 1922, II, 207).
King George V of Hanover (1819–1879) and his Queen Alexandrine Marie (1818–1907) received homeopathic care from Dr. G. A. Weber. The king honored him for the good care he provided (Hunt, 1863).
Dr. Gustav Kramer, a respected German homeopath, became physician to the Grand Duke of Baden, a state in Germany (Haehl, 1922, II, 199–200).
Dr. Anton Schmit, another homeopath, was personal physician to the Duchess of Lucca (Haehl, 1922, II, 243).
Dr. Bernhard Baehr (1828–?), royal medical counselor and private physician to King George V of Hanover (1819–1878), speedily gained a reputation due to his thorough and scientific Treatise on Digitalis purpurea in its Physiological and Therapeutical Actions, for which homeopathic physicians awarded him an honorary prize (Granier, 1859).
G. A. H. Muhlenbein, MD, was physician to William VIII, Duke of Brunswick. Dr. Muhlenbein initially practiced allopathy but then became a homeopath. He wrote:
"I have been a Doctor in medicine for fifty years, during the first thirty-three of which I practiced Allopathically. … but I assure you that I owe daily oblations to my Creator for an allowance of sufficient years to become convinced of the Homeopathic truth. Indeed, it is only since I have practiced Homeopathia that I have been satisfied of the utility of any system of medicine." (Everest, 1842, 196).
Due to the impressive curative care he provided, he was awarded the Knight of the Order of Guelph, an honor conferred by the British crown.
Homeopathy did not get support in every part of what we know today as Germany. For instance, in what was once the kingdom of Bavaria (where Munich is the capital), homeopathy was declared a faddish cure by a high ministry of war and its practice was forbidden in military hospitals. Support for homeopathy from the military in other regions, however, was much more positive. At that very same time, the ministry of war in the principality of Hessen ruled that no doctor should be hired for the military unless he was also a homeopath (Baumann, 1857).
The history of homeopathy in Austria is of particular interest and significance because homeopathy and homeopaths experienced some of the strongest attacks in this country, though later, it also experienced its greatest successes and general acceptance.
One of the earliest experiences that Austrian royalty had with homeopathy is typical of the many controversies that occurred in this country. The head of Austria’s army against Napoleon was General and Prince Karl Phillip von Schwarzenberg (1771–1820). General von Schwarzenberg was successful against Napoleon in the famous 1813 battle at Leipzig, a German city where Hahnemann lived at the time. The general did not receive homeopathic treatment at this time nor after experiencing a stroke in 1817. However, when he had his second stroke in 1819, he sought homeopathic treatment from Dr. Hahnemann. After initial homeopathic treatment, Dr. Hahnemann visited the general and was shocked to find another doctor bloodletting him. Because of this problem and because the general chose not to stop his vigorous consumption of alcohol, Hahnemann withdrew from being his physician. Shortly afterward, the general died, and the conventional physicians and apothecaries blamed Hahnemann for the death.
The German literary great, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, was extremely critical of conventional medicine of that day and of doctors’ efforts to restrict access to homeopathic treatment. On May 5, 1820, he wrote: “In this place a curious game is being played by refusing and damming up innovations of every kind. E.g., nobody is allowed to practice by Hahnemann’s method” (Haehl, 1922, I, 113).
Francis I (1792–1835), emperor of Austria, actually prohibited the practice of homeopathy from 1819 until 1835. In 1828, he ordered that an experiment be made with homeopathic treatment over a sixty-day period. In spite of the fact that only one of the forty-three patients treated in the hospital died and that all nine patients with serious inflammatory diseases were cured with homeopathic medicine, Professor Zang, one of the conventional doctors who oversaw the experiment, asserted, “It is wonderful what nature can accomplish” (Haehl, 1922, II, 493). Although the prohibition against homeopathy was not withdrawn until the new emperor took over the country several years later, Austria’s Archduke Johann appointed a homeopath as his personal physician shortly after this experiment.
After the death of Francis I in 1835, homeopathy experienced unprecedented growth. In fact, several of Austria’s royalty became practitioners of homeopathy. Patients came in crowds to Count Gustav Auersberg on account of his successes in homeopathic treatment. Princess Wilhelmina Auersberg, renowned for her benevolence, went from cottage to cottage in her estates in Bohemia, giving her needy tenants the benefits of homeopathic treatment. In Zleb, in Bohemia, she established a hospital with twelve beds for poor peasants, attended by her physician, Dr. Kohout. In 1846, Countess Harrach also founded a homeopathic hospital for the poor in Nechanitz, in which 404 patients were treated during the first three years (Mueller, 1876).
Count de Fickelmont, Austrian ambassador to His Majesty the King of the Two Sicilies (part of Italy), then at Vienna, wrote a letter very supportive of homeopathy to General Luigi Caraffa, who himself was a friend of homeopathy. The count wrote:
"The system [homeopathy] has passed through the trial to which it was submitted with the most brilliant success. That explains why its opponents put every difficulty in the way of the publication of the report. I found since my last journey to Vienna that homeopathy had made immense progress. The consequence will be that no one can refuse to believe the evidence of facts. The patients cured are a speaking proof that must of necessity make converts." (Granier, 1859, 69)
The new medicine continued to spread throughout the empire. People of rank gave it their support, the rich assisted with their means, and many heads of scientific societies favored its dissemination.
In the 1840s, some observers noted that homeopathy was practiced more in Austria than in any other European country. There were hospitals and dispensaries everywhere, and homeopaths were nearly as numerous as conventional doctors (Hunt, 1863). The University of Vienna and the military academy had professors of homeopathy. Medical students could choose between the systems. Still further, the Duke of Batthyanny of Fkervar, Vienna, and Stein-am-Anger had his own homeopath, Dr. H. Rosenberg (Haehl, 1922, II, 496).
Homeopathy’s popularity in Austria grew even more as a result of the remarkable cure of Field Marshall Radetzky. Joseph von Radetzky (1766–1858) was a nobleman and Austrian general, immortalized by Johann Strauss’s Radetzky March. The emperor appointed Radetzky his field marshall in charge of the Austrian army in 1836, when Radetszky was 70 years old. In 1841, he suffered from a tumor in the orbit of his right eye. Radetzky being a favorite of his, the emperor insisted that he be seen by two professors of ophthalmology, Francisco Flarer and Friedrich Jaeger ; both asserted that he was incurable.
Radetzky then sought the care of a homeopathic doctor, Dr. J. Christophe Hartung (1779–1853), a colleague and early student of Hahnemann. Within six weeks, Radetzky was completely cured (Clarke, 1905, 103–106).
As with many cures resulting from homeopathic treatment, conventional physicians and apothecaries questioned the authencity of the ailment and the cure. Fifteen years after Field Marshall Radetzky was cured, a conventional medical journal raised questions, but the field marshall responded forcefully, asserting real value to the homeopathic treatment he received.
Homeopathy was introduced into Italy and to the Italian monarchs as a result of the Austrian occupation of Naples. Austria’s head army commander was Baron Francis Koller, who was a devoted follower of Hahnemann. When he first arrived in Naples in 1822, he sent for his personal homeopathic doctor, Dr. George Necker. Necker lived and practiced in Naples for four years, during which time he convinced three leading Italian physicians of the power and value of homeopathic medicines; these were Doctors Francesco Romani, Giuseppe Mauro, and Cosmo Maria de Horatiis (Mitchell, 1975, 72).
In addition to his private practice, Dr. Necker, in May 1823, opened a dispensary for the poor, in which he was always assisted by Dr. Romani and sometimes by Doctors Smicht and Kinzel. In 1824, the queen of Naples sent Necker to Rome to take professional charge of her sister, Maria Louisa of Bourbon, then queen of Etruria and mother of the reigning Duke of Lucca, Carlo Lodovico. Dr. Necker was appointed physician to the Duke of Lucca (in Tuscany) and his court, a position that he held until 1847 (Homeopathy in Italy, 1876).
The three Italian doctors who became Dr. Necker’s homeopathic colleagues were some of Italy’s finest doctors. Dr. Francesco Romani had the reputation in Naples and abroad of being a learned physician and distinguished intellectual and poet. England’s Lord Shewsbury even brought him to his estate to be his personal homeopath in 1831, making Dr. Romani the first homeopath to practice in England. Dr. Romani was the personal homeopath to the Queen Dowager of Naples (Atkin, 1853). Dr. Giuseppe Mauro was a distinguished practitioner and private physician of Prince Ruffo, minister of the royal house of Bourbon. Dr. Cosmo Maria de Horatiis was the alternate of the famed anatomist, Antonio Scarpa, in the chair of surgery of the Athenaeum of Ticino, which some historians suggest was an honor far transcending any that the kings of the earth could bestow. He was also surgeon-in-chief of the Neapolitan army, inspector-general of the military hospitals, private physician to the hereditary prince, the Duke of Calabria, afterwards Francis I, then physician to this king, and subsequently professor of clinical surgery at the University of Naples. Dr. Horatiis was the first translator of Hahnemann’s writings into Italian (Homeopathy in Italy, 1876).
Of additional significance, in 1828, Dr. Romani converted to homeopathy his countryman, Dr. Count Sebastiano de Guidi, who subsequently held eminent positions at three French universities, as a professor of mathematics and then of medicine. The cure of his wife’s serious health problems led him to become the first, and later the oldest, practicing homeopath in France; he is considered the father of homeopathy in France (www.homeoint.org).
The first homeopath to establish a practice in Rome was Settimio Centamori, MD, in 1826. He was known to successfully treat many people who suffered from cholera, though in 1837 he did not succeed in treating the rector at St. Peter’s, who was dying of cholera. Several conventional physicians accused him of poisoning the prelate, though his reputation wasn’t significantly affected. In fact, he became physician to the Duke of Lucca, and in 1842 he married French royalty, Charlotte Bonaparte, the niece of Napoleon I.
King Vittorio Emmanuel (1820–1878) of Sardinia, now a part of Italy, also sought out homeopathic treatment (Hunt, 1863).
The monarchs of Spain also appreciated homeopathy. In 1829, the king of Spain, Ferdinand VII (1784–1833), married Donna Maria Cristina, who was the daughter of the king of Savoy (which in 1860 became a part of France). The wedding took place in Madrid, and one of the guests was the king of Naples, Ferdinand II, who brought with him his homeopathic doctor, Dr. Horatiis. Initially, homeopathy didn’t spread rapidly, in large part because of a civil war that dominated Spain until 1840. Dr. Don Andrés Marino, one of Madrid’s most respected conventional physicians, who became a homeopath, was made honorary physician to the queen of Spain (History of Homeopathy in Spain, 1876).
The Spanish monarchs developed a particularly deep appreciation for homeopathy once they were introduced to Dr. José Nuñez (1805–1879), who studied homeopathy with Hahnemann himself. Nuñez returned to Spain in 1844 after studying and practicing in France, and he continued his practice with such zeal and brilliant results that he received admiration of all, except the allopathic doctors. Eventually, his growing reputation carried Dr. Nuñez into the palace of Queen Isabelle II (1830–1904), and he remained one of the physicians of the bedchamber until the revolution in 1868. The queen rewarded him with the title of Marquis of Nuñez as well as the Grand Cross of Charles III and the Civil Order of Beneficencia.
In 1850 an allopathic medical journal bemoaned the fact that a royal ordinance granted two chairs of homeopathy in a Spanish university “because the orthodox practitioners foolishly consented to an experimental trial of the system” (L’ Union Medicale, 1850). Sadly, other medical societies rarely chose to give homeopaths a fair trial.
The prince of Spain and Portugal, the Infante Don Sebastian Gabriel (1813–?), was cured of a very serious illness by another homeopath, Dr. Tomás Pellicer, Sr., who was named first physician of the bedchamber and was honorary physician to the queen. Like Dr. Nuñez, he was awarded Knight of the Order of Charles III and the Grand Cross of Isabella the Catholic; these orders were also bestowed upon Dr. Don Andrés Marino, the royal family’s first homeopath. The support for homeopathy by Spain’s royal family was even more marked after the 1868 revolution that sent them into exile. The Infante Don Sebastian appointed Dr. Joaquin Pellicer, Jr. as second physician of the bedchamber, and in Paris, Her Majesty Queen Isabella II chose a highly respected French homeopath, Dr. Leon Simon, to take charge of her health (History of Homeopathy in Spain, 1876).
In the nineteenth century, the country of Prussia existed in the area that today is northeastern Germany, northern Poland, eastern Russia, and Lithuania. The last capital of Prussia was Berlin. As in many countries in Europe, doctors could prescribe homeopathic medicines or conventional drugs, but they were not always allowed to dispense them. They were required by law to have pharmacies (called apothecaries at that time) sell the prescriptions. However, because apothecaries were required to charge for drugs based on the amount sold, they could not make much money selling homeopathic medicines because the doses were so small. Due to the economic hardship of making and selling homeopathic medicines, many apothecaries sold fraudulently made homeopathic medicines.
As a result of these problems, Hahnemann and many homeopaths sought to make their own medicines, and they were sometimes arrested for these actions. However, Hahnemann and his colleagues asked their royal patients for special dispensation, and were ultimately granted it—in Württemberg, Prussia in 1829 and in Hessen in 1833. The struggle in the entire country of Prussia ended when King Friedrich Wilhelm IV (1795–1861) gave authorization in 1843 to homeopaths to dispense their medicines (Kotok, 1999, note 183).
In 1842, King Friedrich Wilhelm IV wrote the following letter to his homeopath, Dr. Matthias Marenzeller (1765–1854):
I am grateful to you for the confidence with which you, in your letter of October 14th, recommend the homeopathic method to my protection, and I attach no small value to the recommendation of this important subject by a man who, like you, has practised homeopathy with success through a whole generation. I shall willingly continue, as I have begun, to give the system every help that might aid in its development. I have already sanctioned the erection of a homeopathic hospital and have promised the necessary funds from the State Treasury, and I intend to permit homeopathic practitioners to dispense medicines themselves under certain conditions, and negotiations are still going on this point. (Ameke, 1885)
Earlier, homeopathy in Prussia also benefited from the patronage of Princess Friedricka (1767–1820), who appointed one of Hahnemann’s earliest physicians, Dr. Julius Aegidi (1795–1874), as her personal physician. Sadly, significant harassment and legal threats to Dr. Aegidi’s life and practice forced him to resign after four years (Haehl, 1922, II, 201, 207). Luckily for the princess, another of Hahnemann’s senior physicians, Dr. George Heinrich Gottleib Jahr (1800–1875), accepted this position in Aegidi’s place.
Because of the sensational results that these homeopaths experienced, the Royal Prussian Hofrath Nordmann of Muhlhausen from the district of Erfurt, wrote to Hahnemann to recommend a homeopath for his district and himself (Haehl, 1922, II, 203).
The Netherlands and Other European Countries
The Dutch royalty’s interest in homeopathy started with King William I (1772–1843), who was known to be under the care of a homeopathic physician in Brussels, L. J. Varlez, MD. Later, King William III of the Netherlands (1817–1890) also had a homeopathic doctor, Professor Everhard.
Dr. Joseph Attomyr (1807–1856) was an early student of Hahnemann’s, and Hahnemann particularly appreciated his brilliance in writing responses to the doctors and apothecaries who wrote ill-informed articles attacking homeopathy. Dr. Attomyr later became personal physician to Count Czaky of Zips (today called Spiš), previously in Hungary but today an administrative county in Poland. Later in his life, he became personal homeopath to the Duke of Lucca in Tuscany, Italy.
Dr. H. Rosenberg was the personal homeopathic physician to the Duke of Batthyany of Stein-am-anger (today called Szombathely, a county administrative city in Hungary). Dr. Rosenberg introduced several medicines to homeopathy, including Vinca minor, an important medicine in cancer (and from which conventional drug companies make a popular chemotherapeutic drug called Vincristine).
In Hungary, Viceroy Joseph patronized homeopathy and warmly encouraged its progress. In 1844, the two houses of the states of Hungary unanimously agreed to establish a homeopathic hospital and a university chair in the capital city. Three homeopathic pharmacies opened shortly afterward, and the homeopathic movement, supported by the higher classes, grew throughout Hungary.
In much the same way that homeopathy became popular in the German states, homeopathy in the Czech Republic owed its acceptance in the first half of the nineteenth century to its efficacy during the cholera epidemics in the 1830s and 1840s. After this, homeopathy had influential supporters, especially members of the aristocracy, who consulted homeopathic physicians. The Princes Windischgrätz and Lamberg zu Zusiowitz as well as Princess Wilhelmine Auersperg were all known to have homeopaths as their personal physicians (Jütte, 2006, 60). This princess was even known to be the benefactor to a small homeopathic hospital in her hometown.
Amazingly enough, homeopathy’s popularity among royalty extended far beyond Europe. E. Cook Webb, MD, arrived in Hawaii on May 17, 1880. He was previously chief of staff of the Homeopathic Hospital on Ward Island in New York, a highly respected and very large hospital with more than 1,800 beds. He developed a popular homeopathic practice in Hawaii shortly after his arrival, including the royal family of Hawaii (Smith, 2002).
George Henry Martin, MD (1859–1944) graduated from the homeopathic medical school at Boston University, in 1881. In 1882 he arrived in Hawaii and soon became homeopath to King Kalakaua (1836–1891), the last reigning king of the kingdom of Hawaii. Dr. Martin moved to California in 1887, where he practiced and taught homeopathy for fifty-seven more years.
Queen Liliuokalani (1838–1917), the last monarch of the Kamaka’eha family of the kingdom of Hawaii, was known to receive homeopathic treatment from Charles F. Nichols, MD (1846–1915). Nichols was a Harvard graduate who was invited to visit by Chief Justice Elisha H. Allen of Hawaii. He developed a good reputation for his successful treatment of people with leprosy and other diseases, which impressed the Hawaiian royalty (Mamiya Medical Heritage Center, 2005). Although Dr. Nichols only spent two years in Hawaii, his good work was so appreciated that he became an adopted member of the Hawaiian Society of Mission Children.
Bibliography HERE following the information on the use of homeopathy by English royals.