England · Graves

The death of Henry VIII

January 28, 1547
London, England
King Henry VIII dies

During life, Henry overindulge in as many vices as humanly possible. Shortly after his marriage to Catherine of Aragon was annulled so Henry could legally satiate his lust for Anne Boleyn, a preacher named William Peto held an Easter mass, deciding to focus his sermon on the parallels between Henry VIII and King Ahab in the Bible, cautioning the king that turning his back on God would result in disaster. He quoted 1 Kings 22:38, “…and the dogs licked up his blood, as the word of the LORD had declared.”

Twelve years and many wives later, Henry finally died at the age of 55, mostly from complications of his obesity; his final words were “Monks! Monks! Monks!”

He was not buried straight away as he wished to be buried next to his third wife, Jane Seymour, who had died following a difficult birthing of Henry’s only male heir, Edward VI. However, his intended final resting place was not yet complete, so in the meantime his body and coffin were on display for public mourning.

The preservation of corpses was not an art form in Europe during this time, and the body festered within its coffin. Advanced decomposition further bloated the already large body, until the gases produced in the process likely exploded the former king, rupturing the coffin, spilling his bodily fluids onto the ground, where a dog began to lick the mix of blood, pus, and liquified flesh from the floor, fulfilling the prophesy Peto had passed 12 years earlier.

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