Death of Henry VIII
Death of Henry VIII
King Henry VIII died on 28 January 1547. Henry VIII was buried in St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, next to his third wife Jane Seymour, the mother of his son and heir Edward VI. But what was the cause of his death? He was 56 years of age when he died, not a bad age to reach during the Tudor period. So did he die of old age, was there a specific illness or was the cause of death syphilis? To ascertain the cause of the death of Henry VIII it is perhaps a good idea to look at any health issues or illnesses that he had suffered during his life.
Death of Henry VIII - Life Illnesses
The most famous doctors who attended Henry VIII were George Owen, M.D, Doctor Augustine and Doctor Butts. During his lifetime King Henry VIII suffered from the following health issues and illnesses:
- In 1513 at the age of 22 he suffered from a bout of smallpox
- In 1524 at the age of 33 he suffered the first of recurring attacks of malaria
- In 1535 at the age of 44 King Henry VIII badly injured his leg in a jousting accident.
- Although the leg first appeared to have healed it reopened a few years later and became ulcerated. He was unable to take exercise and his weight heavily increased
His height was six foot four inches
His early armour showed a waist measurement of waist of about 34 to 36 inches indicating a weight of about 180 to 200 pounds
His last set of armour showed a waist measurement of waist of about 58 to 60 inches indicating a weight of about 300 to 320 pounds
- Eventually, both of his legs and feet became affected with ulcers
- His increase in weight could also have been due to diabetes
- He then suffered from insomnia, sore throats and migraine headaches
- He suffered with some mental decline in later life exhibiting some paranoia, feelings of depression and loneliness and a terrible temper
- He suffered from a series of strokes prior to his death possibly indicating circulatory problems and high blood pressure
- His toes became gangrenous as ulcerations worsened and advanced
Death of Henry VIII - Was the cause of death syphilis?
Was the death of Henry VIII due to syphilis? This is the belief of many people as such a death caused by a sexually transmitted disease seems to go with his image as a lecher. This image is in fact incorrect. Henry had very few mistresses for a royal monarch and as we all know tended to marry the women in his life. The gradual mental decline, paranoia and the leg ulceration he developed as he grew older could have been the result of a terminal syphilitic infection. But no one has ever proved that the death of Henry VIII was due to syphilis.
Death of Henry VIII - The last Days
King Henry VIII spent his last 8 days in bed and was too weak to even to lift a glass to his lips. His sick room was filled with the hideous stench of his bursting leg ulcers. His doctors and physicians were afraid to tell him that he was dying because the Treason Act forbade anyone from predicting the death of the king. Archbishop Thomas Cranmer gently told Henry of his imminent death. King Henry VIII died on 28 January 1547.
Death of Henry VIII - The Burial and the strange prophecy
Following the death of Henry VIII his body was transported to Windsor for burial. Legend has it that sometime during the night the coffin burst open and when the sentries found him, dogs were licking his remains. Someone had once prophesied that "...dogs will lick his bones as they did Ahab's." and this legend appeared to fulfil this prophecy. Henry VIII was finally buried in St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, next to his third wife, Jane Seymour.
Death of Henry VIII - His Will
Henry VIII had made a Will confirming the order of succession upon his death. The Will of King Henry VIII dictated that his son, Edward, should succeed on his death. If Edward then died without heirs, his daughter Mary should then accede, followed by Elizabeth, if Mary also died childless. Should all his children die without issue, the will stated that the throne of England was to go to the descendants of his younger sister, Mary and the Grey line and not those of his elder sister, Margaret and the Stuart line, although there is some suspicion that the Seymour faction appointed to rule during the minority of King Edward VI had these alterations to the Will to suit their own interests.
Death of Henry VIII
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