‘Scurvy, diabetes and syphilis’: What really killed Henry VIII and the place did he die?


While January 2021 marks the 474th anniversary of the death of one of England’s most famous monarchs, we are living in a time not too dissimilar to his reign.

King Henry VIII was known to break a long-standing accord with an institution to further his own needs and have many wives.

But when historical figures famous for many things in their life other than death do actually die, the cause and place can often be overlooked. Unless you’re King Harold (ouch).

There are many different theories about how Henry VIII died: scurvy, diabetes, and syphilis to name a few.

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It was also believed that he weighed around 180 kilograms when he died.

However, it is not fully agreed how the brutal monarch eventually came to his death.

One highly controversial theory for at least the beginning of his death is rooted in a tournament accident that occurred in Greenwich in 1536 when he was in his forties.

According to the Royal Museums Greenwich, Henry VIII dismounted from his horse, which then fell on him, and was knocked unconscious for two hours.

The former home of King Henry VIII at Hampton Court Palace is still fit for a king

When he woke up, the injuries had caused a dramatic change in his personality, which historians have attributed to the creation of the monster that executed his wives.

It is also believed that he had a chronic leg injury that was ulcerated and may have contributed to his death.

Henry VIII was born at Greenwich Palace and lived much of his life in the area as well as Hampton Court.

Henry VIII’s fourth wife, Jane Seymour, died after giving birth, painted by Hans Holbein the Younger in 1536-37

When he died on January 28, 1547 at the age of 55, he was in Whitehall Palace in Westminster.

He was eventually buried in a vault under the Quire of St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle near his third wife, Jane Seymour, who sadly died giving birth to a child.

No one can be absolutely certain what Henry VIII killed – it could very well have been several different diseases.

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