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  #21  
Old 10-12-2007, 12:17 PM
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Henry and syphilis

It was recently reported that among medical records concerning Henry there was no mention of mercury being used which was the treatment at the time for syphilis. I do not believe he ever had syphilis. I do believe he was a diabetic and it is far more likely that the ulcer on his thigh was a non healing diabetic ulcer. Considering that it was persistently lanced with filthy instruments by doctors who did not wash their hands, this set up an ongoing infection. As far as his rages and paranoia are concerned, his mind was very disturbed by all the children he lost, his religious and social guilt, and he may also have been a manic depressive. As far as the stillborn children are concerned, there may have been other reasons. Not all of Catherine of Aragon's children were stillborn, some died of other causes. He had Elizabeth with Anne Boleyn and Edward with Jane Seymour. As far as I know none of his wives suffered from the disease.
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  #22  
Old 10-12-2007, 12:32 PM
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No one can say it's a fact that the marriage of Catherine of Aragon to Prince Arthur was consummated. While her insistence that it was not was quite possibily motivated by a desire to save her marriage to King Henry, it is still the standing testimony from her. She never changed her story. That there were "witnesses" who claimed to know differently is not disputed either, in and of itself, for the witnesses (claiming to witness various episodes, timings, letters, other exchanges, etc.) factually exist, and their testimonies factually exist. However, since there are multiple claims made, with various points of view, there is no existing "fact" that the first marriage was consummated.
There is only the facts of the testimony, never the "fact" of what was claimed is true.
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Old 10-12-2007, 03:00 PM
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I used to totally believe Catherine of Aragon's story that the marriage with Arthur hadn't been consummated. My reason was that, since Catherine was such a devout Catholic, she wouldn't have lied.

But lately, I have wondered how much she understood about sex when she was very young (and she might have said no consummation when it actually happened) and later how desperately she would have wanted to protect Mary and her birthright. What a historical riddle.

I also used to think that Henry was driven by lust. But in retrospect (while lust may have been a factor!), his desire for a son was a matter of national security. Prior to Elizabeth, England had had no successful queens regnant.
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Old 10-12-2007, 04:24 PM
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I am really impressed with Jo of Palatine’s and windsorbrides1’s knowledge of the matter in question. Given a significant difference in opinions,I hope that Jo of Palatine will not view the above as cheap flattery.
I agree that Henry VIII was a lustful man indeed, who badly needed an heir. At the same time, Henry VIII was truly brave, because he dared to challenge the mighty Vatican and succeeded in it.
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  #25  
Old 10-13-2007, 12:45 AM
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I recently read a book by Royal historian David Starkey called the 6 Wives of Henry VIII. He made a good case that Catherine was not the plaster of paris saint that she was originally believed to be, but that she was actually a brilliant stateman, politician, and soldier. She was an ambassador to the court of Henry VII, won as a general what was considered to be one of greatest victories in Henry VIII's reign, and lied about phantom pregnancies to her father Ferdinand of Aragon. Most importantly, she had so many insiders that Henry could do nothing in seeking divorce/annullment without Catherine finding out and broadcasting it to the world. In short, she was much more of a political schemer that she was ever given credit for.

If it would have stopped the annullment, she would have said whatever it took. She wanted to protect her position for Mary, because she knew that once the marriage was null, Mary would be a bastard and lose her right to the throne. Catherine herself stated that if it had been just her and no child, she would not have fought the divorce as she did.

The only one besides Catherine that ever stated that she remained a virgin (even the Spainish Ambassador and her Confessor were skeptical) was the woman who was what we would think of as a governess, Dona El Vera (ok spelled nothing like that.. LOL). This woman would have had cause to say Catherine was a virgin because it would have kept Catherine in her sphere of influence.

The pope was even unable to make up his mind, and the dispensation for the marriage of Catherine and Henry VIII stated that the marriage had "perhaps" been consumated, as the English pretty much believed that the consumation had taken place, and the Spanish believed it, but acted as though they did not.

As far as Henry's ulcerations go, the newest idea I heard was that they were old jousting wounds that just never healed. This doctor proved it by using Henry's medical information. It stated plainly that bone splinters came out of the wound often, which would be a bone injury and not a disease.
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  #26  
Old 10-13-2007, 01:08 AM
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I recently read that Henry VIII had syphyllis (very common in those days, called the Pox) which accounts for the number of still born or miscarried children born to his wives. The Healthy illegitimate son was born early in Henry's life (IIRC the same day as Princess Mary), perhaps before he contracted it. It would also account for the weeping intractable ulcer high on his thigh, and his paranoia and rages at the end as the dementia from the disease sets it. We'll cetainly never know, but it fits the facts we have at hand.
I've also heard that he is supposed to have had syphilis, as well as reports (goodness knows what they were based on) that his daughter Elizabeth had congenital syphilis.

However, I'm not sure that he can be blamed for the lack of healthy sons, because having unhealthy sons seems to have been something of a Tudor tradition. Henry's brother Arthur died young, his son Edward VI died young, Mary Tudor (Henry VIII's sister) had a son who died around age 20, Margaret Tudor's son James V of Scotland had two sons who died young. It seems as though Henry himself was the exception rather than the rule in being strong, healthy, and long-lived.
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Old 10-16-2007, 12:45 PM
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I've also heard that he is supposed to have had syphilis, as well as reports (goodness knows what they were based on) that his daughter Elizabeth had congenital syphilis.

However, I'm not sure that he can be blamed for the lack of healthy sons, because having unhealthy sons seems to have been something of a Tudor tradition. Henry's brother Arthur died young, his son Edward VI died young, Mary Tudor (Henry VIII's sister) had a son who died around age 20, Margaret Tudor's son James V of Scotland had two sons who died young. It seems as though Henry himself was the exception rather than the rule in being strong, healthy, and long-lived.
I'm not sure about that. That might just be because of the lack of medicinal treatments at the time. Henry VII himself was vigorous and pretty much always healthy - his mother even bore him at age 13. His father, Edmund Tudor, did catch the plague and die at a relatively young age, so it's probably a hereditary thing from the paternal line.
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  #28  
Old 10-25-2007, 02:36 AM
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Anne of Cleves

With the death of Jane, Henry remained unmarried for many years. The reason for this is that Henry generally tended to fall in love with one woman while falling out of love with another. Since Jane died, giving him the long hoped for heir, this situation did not come in to play, and Henry took his time about choosing his next wife.

Henry wanted to solidify his hold over the English church and decided to choose a foreign bride from a Protestant nation. Now, there were two women who were seriously in consideration for Henry's wife, the Duchess of Milan, and the Lady of Cleves.

In 1538, German painter Hans Holbein arrived in Brussels to meet Christina, the recently widowed Duchess of Milan. Upon Holbein's arrival, Christina sat for a portrait, wearing mourning clothes. Christina, then only sixteen years old, made no secret of her opposition to marrying the English king, who by this time had a reputation around Europe for his mistreatment of his wives. She supposedly told the English ambassador she would only marry Henry if she "had two heads". Christina was also the grand-niece of Henry's first wife Catherine of Aragon through her mother, who was a first cousin to Henry's daughter Mary. Therefore, she was also opposed to the match on the grounds of family honor. It was highly unlikely Henry would have married her anyway since the Italians wanted a Papal Dispensation for the marriage, which of course, since Henry had denied the Pope, pretty much made the marriage a non issue. Henry did fall in love with Christina through the portrait, though, and kept it in his personal collection to his dying day.

Thomas Cromwell, now 1st Earl of Essex, suggested one of the daughters of Cleves, sisters of the Protestant Duke of Cleves, who was seen as an important ally in case of a Roman Catholic attack on England. She was also the sister -in law (her sister had married him) of Martin Luther's Patron and Protectorate - Prince Frederick, Elector of Saxony.

Henry's ambassadors were first sent, but said they could not see her well under her formal Germany headwear. So Hans Holbein was dispatched to Cleves to paint a portrait of Anne for the King. Although it has been said that he painted her in a more flattering way, it is unlikely that the portrait was inaccurate, as Holbein remained in favour at court.


Negotiations with the Cleves court were in full swing by March 1539. Cromwell oversaw the talks and a marriage treaty was signed on 4 October of the same year. While Henry valued education and cultural sophistication in women, Anne lacked these in her upbringing; she received no formal education as a child, and instead of being taught to sing or play an instrument, she was skilled in needlework. She had learned to read and write, but in German only. Nevertheless, Anne was considered gentle, virtuous, and docile, qualities that made her a realistic candidate for Henry.

After regarding Holbein's portrayal, Henry agreed to wed Anne. On Anne's arrival in England, she was stalled at the coast because of bad weather, and Henry could not come there as he was ill with flu. Anne's host, Admiral Fitzwilliam, is said to have written glowing reports about Anne to Henry on a daily basis. The ambassadors returned from Germany ahead of Anne and were also saying how lovely, kind and loving Anne seemed to be.

On New Year's, Henry decided he would secretly go and see Anne. The story goes like this:

"Anne was sitting, looking out the window looking at the Bull bating, that had been put on for her entertainment, when three strange men entered her room without knocking. One of them stepped forward and said he brought a gift from the King, but before he gave her the gift, tried to romance and "make love" to her. Anne continued to watch the Bull bating and ignored the man. After having no success, the three men left and returned - and the one who had tried to woo her was dressed in purple - it was HENRY! He took her into another room and introduced himself properly."

Now to us Anne's behavior may seem utterly appropriate, but to Henry it was a bitter disappointment. In Romance literature and plays - no matter how their beloved was disguised, the woman recognized him. Anne had been sent out utterly untrained in the "art of courtly love" and so did not know how to respond when this strange man began making love to her. She had failed her test as Henry's loved one - and Henry was absolutely devastated by this. Nevertheless, he married her on 6 January 1540. The phrase “God send me well to keep” was engraved around Anne’s wedding ring.

Henry was unsuccessful in consumating the marriage because he is said to have found her utterly unattractive, privately calling her a "Flanders Mare." Henry claimed that he had found his bride so unattractive that he could not bear to sleep with her. He was said to have come into the room each night and merely kissed his new bride on the forehead before sleeping.

Henry desired to end the marriage, not only because of these personal feelings but also because of political considerations. The Duke of Cleves had become engaged in a dispute with the Holy Roman Emperor, with whom Henry had no desire to quarrel. Anne was commanded to leave the court on June 24 and on July she was informed of her husband's decision to reconsider the marriage. Queen Anne was intelligent enough not to impede Henry's quest for an annulment. She testified that her marriage was never consummated. The marriage was subsequently annulled on the grounds that Anne had previously been contracted to marry the Duke Of Lorraine. The marriage was annulled on 9 July 1540. Made a Princess of England, she received the title of "The King's Sister," and was granted Hever Castle, the former residence of Anne Boleyn's family.
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  #29  
Old 10-25-2007, 04:53 AM
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I often wonder how different the Throne of England would look today if Harry had known about chromosomes.
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  #30  
Old 10-25-2007, 05:12 AM
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and lived happily ever after as an independant woman until her death in 1557. During her life she continued to be received at court for celebrations. She is buried in a tomb in Westminster Abbey.

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Anne of Cleves.
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  #31  
Old 10-26-2007, 08:23 PM
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I recently read a book by Royal historian David Starkey called the 6 Wives of Henry VIII. He made a good case that Catherine was not the plaster of paris saint...
That is very interesting and I'll have to look that book up! It makes a lot of sense especially since Catherine was, after all, the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, two crafty, incredibly powerful and intelligent rulers.
It doesn't make sense that Catherine would miss out on the intelligent genes. But then again, they did have Juana of Castile and she was a whack job.
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  #32  
Old 10-26-2007, 09:21 PM
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I don't think Catherine was that crafty. She had the love of the English people and the backing of the Pope and most of Europe and still she couldn't prevent herself being ostacized and some say poisoned by Henry with her daughter cruelly treated. From all accounts Catherine and Mary were both rigid in their thinking and they had overconfidence in the ability and willingness of their Spanish relatives to bail them out.
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  #33  
Old 10-28-2007, 01:03 AM
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From all accounts Catherine and Mary were both rigid in their thinking and they had overconfidence in the ability and willingness of their Spanish relatives to bail them out.
I would theorize that that thinking came from Ferdinand and Isabella their decendants and Spain as being the "Super Powers" of the time.
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Old 10-28-2007, 03:33 PM
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I would theorize that that thinking came from Ferdinand and Isabella their decendants and Spain as being the "Super Powers" of the time.
Also, F 'n' I were devout Catholics and believers in the Divine Right of Kings, which they instilled in Catherine and thus Mary: Mary believed she was chosen to rule.
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  #35  
Old 10-29-2007, 06:40 AM
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and lived happily ever after as an independant woman until her death in 1557. During her life she continued to be received at court for celebrations. She is buried in a tomb in Westminster Abbey.
Anne took care of Mary and Elizabeth as best as she could while Henry was alive and during the reign of his son. Mary considered her to be her personal friend and so Anne was honoured as the third lady in rank at queen Mary's court, after the queen and princess Elizabeth, ranking higher than the Queen Dowager Catherine Parr. There are a lot of historical statements that she was well loved and had a very helpful and pleasant personality. She even became friends with Henry and was able to influence him favorable when it came to his two daughters.
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Old 10-29-2007, 07:22 AM
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yes, and she on no account wanted to go back home to her brother and was happy not to live permanently at court where the intrigues where tiring.
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Old 10-29-2007, 07:45 AM
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........Blickling Hall is described as a 'magnificent Jacobean house famed for its fine tapestries and rare books'.
More to the point, it is also said to be the home of Anne Boleyn's headless ghost.
The hall was built on the site of a former manor owned by Sir Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire, and believed to be his daughter Anne's birthplace.
Henry VIII's second wife was beheaded in 1536, and her apparition is said to manifest itself every year on the anniversary of her execution with her head in her lap, sitting in a coach drawn by a headless rider. Sadly for Halloween thrill seekers, the anniversary is May 19. ...........

Britain's 10 most haunted historic homes unveiled by National Trust | the Daily Mail
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Old 10-29-2007, 10:20 PM
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Anne took care of Mary and Elizabeth as best as she could while Henry was alive and during the reign of his son. Mary considered her to be her personal friend and so Anne was honoured as the third lady in rank at queen Mary's court, after the queen and princess Elizabeth, ranking higher than the Queen Dowager Catherine Parr. There are a lot of historical statements that she was well loved and had a very helpful and pleasant personality. She even became friends with Henry and was able to influence him favorable when it came to his two daughters.
Oh yes and there is the very funny account of Anne visiting Henry with his fifth wife Catherine Howard and the King couldn't take his hands off his new bride so that Anne laughed at him and said he shoudl get to bed.
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Old 10-29-2007, 10:25 PM
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yes, and she on no account wanted to go back home to her brother and was happy not to live permanently at court where the intrigues where tiring.
Henry paid her a lot of money for her willingness to a divorce and with that money she became her own mistress without having to answer to a husband or a brother. There is an account of her being driven in Edward's coronation procession. Apparently years of good eating had made her so overweight that she almost broke the litter. She was apparently very popular in England.

One of Henry's diplomats who met her and her brother apparently told Henry before the marriage that she was rather uneducated because in Germany at the time, it was considered shameful for a woman to be well educated or interested in the arts. Apparently from what I read she didn't want to go back to Germany because it was boring and I can imagine that if they frowned on women taking part in the arts and literature, then after the blossoming court of Henry VIII where learning and culture were very much en vogue for men and women, then going back to Germany would seem boring to her.
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Old 10-29-2007, 10:30 PM
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I would theorize that that thinking came from Ferdinand and Isabella their decendants and Spain as being the "Super Powers" of the time.
Yes and I just think the thinking in Spain was more rigid at the time. This was the era when the Inquisition was started. I did a paper on it in college and it was really weird how totally uptight and unyielding some of their religious thinking was at the time. All of the nations of the age had that to some extent but in other countries, there was more of a willingness to bend to rules to get a desired result (aka, Henry forming a Church of england, or France trying to get their favorite pope elected) but in Spain they seemed to believe in the one true way and really believe it. It was scary in a way.
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