Monday, October 17, 2011

a funeral, an accident and the twists of fate

On the day of Catherine of Aragon's funeral King Henry fell from his horse and lay unconsious for two hours. He developed a painful ulcer on his leg that never quite healed for the rest of his life. Some historians say the accident changed him and made him mean and paranoid. I think Henry was pretty nasty long before that but the amount of physical torment he was in couldn't have been good for anyone's temprement.  Anne Boleyn, upon hearing about the king's accident was seized with a terrible panic and she miscarried a son and thus sealing her doom. Six months later Henry signed her death warrant. I've sometimes wondered if this wasn't a case of the windmills of God grinding slow but fine or if it was just one of the weird but true quirks of history.


Old Bob said...

Maybe a bit of both. History would be pretty different had Anne not miscarried and the boy grew up.

Deo volente said...

I wish I had the source where I read all of the information below, but it has slipped my mind...

It was my understanding that Henry was quite the outdoorsman. He had enormous calfs which was considered very manly in that period. The calfs were solid muscle attesting to his horsemanship and hiking ability.

The manner of holding up stockings or leggings in his time were bindings above the level of the calf. In his case, they constricted his venous return and he developed chronic ulcers for the rest of this life. As a man of "science" he developed a slew of novel remedies for venous ulcers from which he himself suffered chronically.

I'm not sure whether the tragedy you describe was a particularly awful ulcer flare up or was related to the accident. In any case, it is an interesting series of events.

Anonymous said...

Huh. That's pretty cool! I always felt so bad for Catherine of Aragon; very few history books portray her in a flattering light. And poor Mary. History will always remember her as "Bloody Mary" when her sister, elizabeth, sent more people to death than her father and Mary combined.

I agree with the idea that Henry VIII was mean probably long before. Then it just got worse.

Lola said...

I think it's the Windmills of God...

I think I'd read somewhere that the Rh factor may have been contributing to the many stillbirths and miscarriages of Henry's children. He could have been a positive Rh and his unfortunate wives been negative.

I watched the "Tudors" this past year. Although I think it was a pretty good miniseries it had too much sex and nudity. And, I didn't like how 'Catholicism was portrayed. But, the Anglican's can probably have the same complaint.

I became interested in many of the 'characters' such as Margaret Pole and her son Reginald, Thomas More and Cardinal Fisher. I thought Peter OToole was a fantastic Pope Paul III. Good and Bad.

This is my favorite scene:

Queen Katerine was a good example of Catholic womanhood. She didn't bend to save her neck. If she hadn't fallen ill and died she just might have been in the Tower and at the swordsman.

It is speculated that she had developed Cancer of the Heart.

That is almost poetic considering she had been so heartbroken from the terrible treatment she had endured.