Posts Tagged ‘injuries of Henry VIII’

Henry VIII


Some Sunday; I spent part of the day defending Henry VIII’s “honor”. I got into it with an English friend who insisted Henry died – and stank of – syphilis.  Pfffft.

Note to self: living in England does not make someone an expert.I haven’t read the syphilis theory in any of my books – so if I’m going to waste time rooting for the best of the latest information, I might as well share.

Mini refresher –

The fate of our Sir Henry Wyatt was tied to Henry VII.  They went to school together and became friends.  As adults, our Henry was loyal to Henry Tudor; he even endured two years of torture at the hands of kid-killer (?) Richard III.

Our Henry was greatly rewarded. (Please see what I wrote about Sir Henry in a previous blog. He is my favorite ancestor.)

The fate of Henry’s son Sir Thomas Wyatt the Poet was tied to Henry VIII

Henry VIII was born in 1491; our Sir Henry was made his guardian. 

In 1503 Sir Henry had his own son, Tom. There was too much of an age difference for them to have played together, but the king fancied himself a poet, musician and all-around renaissance man; he enjoyed battles of wits and liked having creative people around. They were friends.

Tom socialized with the king, pissed him off, competed for the same woman (Anne Boleyn) and was sent abroad to serve as ambassador. How convenient; get the competition as far away as possible.

Henry also had him thrown in the tower twice; and then he released him twice. I wonder if that was a record for Tudor times. 

So let’s take a moment to meet Henry VIII.  I’m guessing Henry and Tom could have passed for brothers. Both were over six feet tall, handsome and physically strong.

Check it out …

The psychology of Henry VIII.


I have to disagree with Philipa Gregory. She talks about Henry’s privileged childhood and says he started being careful with his money as he got older. 

First of all – based on the research I’ve done, Henry’s childhood was restrictive. His father and grandmother kept him on a very short leash with very little freedom or money.  When daddy died – look out.

Secondly – hello big spender. Henry spent much of his life – and his father’s money – keeping up with the lavish King Francis (of France). Well, of course that kind of spending is going to catch up with you. I didn’t matter that he ransacked the Catholic churches of England – he still had to start cutting back.   

When our ancestor Sir Tom (the Poet) traveled as Henry’s ambassador, he was frequently short of funds and Lord Cromwell had to pay bills in his absence. I need to find out whether that’s because Henry was short on cash or – as Lord Cromwell is known to have warned him  – because Tom was overly generous and lended money to friends. 

OK, back to Henry. If he lived today, what would he have in his fridge?  If yours has beer, lunchmeat and desserts, you have a thing or two in common. Remember – the water wasn’t fit to drink, he could only drink ale and wine. Food was fatty meats and sweets – hold the veggies:


Henry had significant jousting and tennis injuries. (Note – Sir Tom jousted too!)
This segment even shows Henry’s armour.


Shortly before Henry’s last days, our ancestor Elizabeth Brooke was on the king’s radar for a potential seventh wife. Katherine Parr was getting too smart and too protestant for her own good. She was starting to annoy Henry and she had Catholic enemies at court.

By then he was truly fat and gross and smelled like pus – so Elizabeth dodged a bullet; ok, an axe.  She couldn’t have passed inspection anyway; she left our Sir Tom for another man and they say she lived openly in adultery. She wouldn’t have passed Henry’s new laws that required future queens to be morally upstanding.

Perky young Katherine Howard taught him that lesson the hard way. Her alleged whoring before and during her time as Henry’s fifth queen had made a total fool of the old king; so he had her beheaded – of course.

Rather than his usual fleeting twinge of remorse, he was sad for months.  

Fortunately, Katherine wised up in time to save herself and her ladies. She was a genuinely loving woman who cared about him and comforted him in his old age. By then Henry’s health problems included constipation, gout, insulin issues and problems from his old jousting injuries. 

This segment talks about how they think he died.

After his death, Henry’s body was put in a lead coffin; during  transport, the edges loosened and it burst. That night his bodily fluids dripped onto the floor of Syon Abbey. When plumbers came to make repairs in the morning, a dog came in with them … and licked it up. 

In 1532 – when Henry was trying to divorce Katherine of Aragon so he could marry Anne Boleyn – there was a prophecy. Friar Peto warned that if he succeeded, the dogs would lick his blood. 15 years later they did.

Henry wanted a monument; well, it’s hard to command your minions when you’re dead. This is where the memorable monarch rests.


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