Back in February, I wrote about a new report published by American researchers Catrina Whitley and Kyra Kramer in “The Historical Journal”, and for some reason it’s back in the news and is a hot topic at the moment.
The report, entitled “A New Explanation for the Reproductive Woes and Midlife Decline of Henry VIII” put forward the theory that Henry VIII’s mental decline, i.e. his tyranny, and his wives’ reproductive ‘woes’ may have been caused by Henry VIII having Kell positive blood and suffering from the related genetic syndrome, McLeod Syndrome. Whitley and Kramer believe that Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn suffered from miscarriages/still births because “a Kell positive father frequently causes negative reproductive outcomes for his reproductive partner after the first Kell negative pregnancy” and that McLeod Syndrome explains the King’s “psychological deterioration”.
You can read more about Whitley and Kramer’s theory, and also my views on their theory, in my article Should Henry VIII be Exhumed and Would it Provide the Answer to his Tyranny?
By the way, why do you think we have to explain Henry VIII’s tyranny with a medical condition or injury (syphilis, McLeod Syndrome, head injury….)? Do we have a problem accepting that he was simply who he was?
What do you think? Medical cause, combination of factors or simply his style of rule?