Claire, I recently read that the present Queen Elizabeth II was once asked to have the bones of Henry VIII examined to find out the “real” cause of his death, but she refused. Why do you think that is? Wouldn’t it help put to rest that he died of blood poisoning or syphilis, which some historians can’t seem to agree to? (Maybe she just wants the big tyrant to “rest in peace”?

I think that she just wants him to rest in peace. It would be major work to exhume him and carry out that kind of testing and I suspect that she does not want the peace and tranquility of the chapel at Windsor ruined by such work, just for our curiosity. There is no evidence that he died of syphilis or syphilis related disease, and no mention of mercury, the standard treatment for syphilis in Tudor times, in his expenses. Also, Henry VIII's children showed no sign of congenital syphilis. Experts think that Henry's obesity was a more likely cause of his death and that he may have suffered from deep vein thrombosis, insulin deficiency, cardiac problems, infection etc. Historic Royal Palaces have produced an interesting video on his death - - and there's a great video on his diet at


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