Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Death of Henry VIII

The death of Henry VIII was slow and painful; he suffered from excruciating, festering ulcers which rotted his leg, sporadic and violent mood changes, digestive problems, chronic headaches and likely last stage type II diabetes. Henry's obesity (his waist measured 54 inches) certainly exasperated these condition and hastened his death at the age of 55, which occurred on January 28, 1547 at Whitehall Palace. Henry must have sensed his imminent demise as he had begun vigorously reworking his will and paving the way for his son's smooth accession to the throne over the past several months. He prohibited his wife, Kateryn Parr and his children, from being at his side during his last illness, presumably because he wanted to maintain the image of him as a powerful king, not a man suffering through his last hours. On February 15 Henry's casket was interred at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle next to his beloved wife Jane Seymour.  The death of Henry VIII resulted in the rise of Edward VI to power and with him an Evangelical administration. Over the next several years the Church of England would shift a canonically Protestant institution for the first time.

Henry VIII by Hans Holbein the Younger
circa 1542

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