Saturday, November 6, 2010

Henry the Eighth I am I am

I have recently spent a great deal of my time thinking about the health of Henry VIII.

This may be, in part, because I have spent a great deal of my time recently watching The Tudors from start to finish. Not to mention a long term fascination with the history of the English Royalty which is, in many myriad ways, far more entertaining than any soap opera.

I had always supposed that Henry VIII died from syphilis. This has certainly been the theory that both of my colleagues and my mother repeated to me when I mentioned that I was watching the Tudors. However as I watched the show in question dramatically detail Henry’s ailments I remembered that Jonathan Rhys Meyers is a physically rather sympathetic portrait of the good King. With the constellation of symptoms as described another diagnosis, to my mind, became much more clinically apt.

I was very gratified in the course of my research to discover that many other scholars had also come to a similar conclusion.

Let us first consider Henry.

 (Public domain image sourced from wikipedia)