After 35 years in power, Henry VIII was a bloated, hideously obese, black-humoured old man, rarely seen in public. Studies of his portraits and his symptoms reported by his fearful courtiers and gossipy foreign ambassadors indicate that he was suffering from a rare hormonal disease called ‘Cushings Syndrome’ One variant turns the victim into a paranoid psychotic, suspicious of everyone around him, and subject to frequent mood swings. Henry’s symptoms and behaviour in the last years of his life fits this new diagnosis, as he ruled England with Stalinist ruthlessness.
The king had striven all his life to ensure the survival of the Tudor dynasty by siring legitimate sons, yet his only male heir was eight-year-old Prince Edward. It was increasingly obvious that when Henry died, real power in England would be exercised by a regent. The prospect of that prize spurred the rival court factions into deadly conflict as they conspired and jockeyed for power whilst the king sent the kingdom into bankruptcy.
Robert Hutchinson, author and broadcaster started his working life as a reporter on regional newspapers before joining The Press Association, (the news agency for UK and Irish media) as a night sub-editor. He returned to reporting, later becoming Defence Correspondent. In late 1983 he joined Jane’s Publishing Company as one of the team that successfully launched Jane’s Defence Weekly and became Publishing Director of Jane’s Information Group in 1987, responsible for its magazines, newsletters, books and digital products.Leaving a decade later, he compiled and edited two ed...
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