11. King Farouk’s Picking the Pockets of Winston Churchill Was Just the Tip of a Crazy Iceberg
During a dinner hosted by King Farouk I during WWII, Winston Churchill discovered that his pocket watch had gone missing. It was a prized family heirloom, a gift from Queen Anne to the British Prime Minister’s ancestor, John Churchill, First Duke of Marlborough. After an outcry and search, Farouk, who had been seated next to Churchill, sheepishly turned it in, claiming to have “found” it. That was just the tip of the iceberg of the Egyptian monarch’s crazy behavior. Take the time early in WWII, when Farouk had repeated nightmares in which he was chased by a ravenous lion.
Frazzled from loss of sleep, he consulted the rector of Cario’s ancient Al Azhar University, who advised him “you will not rest until you have shot a lion“. So Farouk went to the zoo and shot two lions in their cages. By 1952, the corruption and crazy had completely eroded the king’ss standing, and he was overthrown in a coup. Hastily fleeing Egypt, he left most of his possessions behind. The new government auctioned his belongings, and it was discovered that he had accumulated the world’s then largest collection of pornography. He settled first in Monaco, then in Rome, where he literally ate himself to death, collapsing at a restaurant dinner table after a heavy meal in 1965.