The young Henry was active, bright, good looking, intelligent and very well educated. He was admired and fancied by the young girls and ladies who were flirtatious by necessity as they and their parents were keen to get noticed in order to secure a good marriage. At every opportunity people plotted and schemed to ensure a good marriage and life at court was a colourful but dangerous waiting game for all who entered into it. It was no place for the weak a person needed to be ambitious, strong and fearless and ready to go after their desires without a second thought for either themselves or anyone else. This was the most selfish lifestyle and endured solely for the benefit of either themselves or their off-spring.
Henry grew ever more handsome, agile and athletic. He was tall in the saddle, majestic and brave. He was a brilliant perfectionist and would practise and practise until he became the best at whatever he took on. He could accurately spear a hoop with a jousting pole but was never allowed to openly joust.
Most of all Henry was the king of intellect and had the wisdom of a sage. His downfall was a long list of ailments that struck him down over and over and over again. He had the constitution of a bear or he would have perished very early on.
In those days England was warm with large woods and forests and straddled with marshes. The climate was ideal for water loving insects and mosquitoes swirled in clouds. It was not uncommon for people to be bitten but in those days malaria was rife and Henry caught malaria which plagued him until his death. He also suffered a massive head injury in 1536, which resulted in him ending up in a coma for several days. Added to this was a painful arthritic condition and possibly gout. A more minor annoyance was the fact that he endured chronic constipation. There are also various notes that infer that he may have caught syphilis and he was plagued with deep sores and ulcers. He made up his own cures which were most likely fairly lethal as they contained such ingredients as lead. A King in pain, a tyrant, a man to be feared – this is what was born out of a multitude of ailments which changed the monarch forever but this is the side that we never see – we never look beyond Henry’s wives and see the forgotten King. He was after all … just a man for all that!
A very young Henry VIII
B. 28.06.1491 – D. 28.01.1547
Succeeded to the throne 22.04.1509 and reined for 37 years, 281 days