1536 was a pretty busy year for Henry VIII, though its events were disasters he brought about himself because he was naturally a bit of a wanker, they all had a significant impact on Henry’s life. They changed the way he acted, the way the people saw him and the nervous constitution of both his subjects and his privy council. It was in this year that Henry lost yet another child, and had two wives die and married his third. I personally believe that this year marked the end of the young, handsome, athletic king, and the start of the fat, cantankerous old shite-meister that everybody was so afraid of.
One of the most significant events of 1536, and indeed Henry’s life, happened on 24th January when Henry was thrown from his horse in a jousting accident that would change his life. Henry’s first wife, Katherine of Aragon, had passed away a couple of weeks previously, and despite celebrating this event with his now pregnant wife Anne, their relationship was starting to crack.
The story goes like this: Henry, clad in magnificent amour, was jousting at a tournament at Greenwich palace when his opponent delivered such a fierce blow that Henry was flung from his horse and lay unconscious for two hours. Anne Boleyn looked on in horror as she was told to brace herself for the king’s death, an event that is said to cause her to miscarry her baby.
It’s not clear whether this was a true account of what happened, we only have 2 contemporary records that outline the events, and neither say who Henry’s opponent was. What is clear however, is that the accident fucked him up royally, (forgive the pun), and that Anne did indeed miscarry their son and heir.
The miscarriage itself makes an interesting story as it coincidentally happened on the day of Katherine of Aragon’s funeral…the people, and possibly Henry, must’ve seen it as a sign. Though I’m not sure that I believe that Anne being told the king might die was the trigger of the miscarriage; predicting the king’s death was considered treason, and if the king’s physiologist wouldn’t even do this as Henry drew his last breath was Anne really told to prepare herself for the news?! I think this part of the story was brought about by Anne’s supporters as reason for the miscarriage, because it was becoming increasingly obvious that Henry was getting pissed off with her, and they knew losing a baby without reason would be her undoing.
Back to the Joust. Henry, being the self-obsessed turd factory that he was, was so eager to take part that nobody, not his wife or the council, could talk him down. He had jousted as a boy, when he was the ‘spare’ not the ‘heir’, and loved it. It’s also possibly because nobody would dare to win him so he always came out as the victor, thus, in his mind at least, reinforcing his image of him being a powerful king. This accident must have been horrifically embarrassing for him; not only had he been publicly battered but now he would never joust again. He was 44, and it was all downhill from there on in.
In May of the same year, Henry had Anne put to death and went on to marry his third wife Jane. Meanwhile his leg became more and more ulcerated, causing him pain and discomfort. As time went on and the leg festered, it became puss filled and needed constant draining. It would’ve stank like shit and disabled him greatly. This would’ve lead to Henry’s weight gain, irritability and deteriorating health, and when you throw in the mix Henry’s fucking terrible life choices and the prospect of possible brain damage caused by the accident, as some historians believe, there is little wonder why he was such a cunt in his later years.