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The Young and Old Face of Henry VIII (Extensive Photoshop Reconstruction)

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Uploaded on Jan 24, 2012


*Project requested by users/ MrCol52, Poetess, ItsAngelAnthonyBetch

One of the most famous Tudors in history, Henry VIII was the third son of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, and was the future father of Queen Elizabeth I. Henry was not intended for the crown, but for the clergy. That all changed when older brother Arthur, who was in line for the throne, died at age 15. From then on, Henry was groomed for the King's seat, though in the process he was horribly spoiled by his mother and grandmother, sowing the seeds of his notorious sense of entitlement that was to last his entire lifetime. At age 18 Henry VIII took the throne.

During this time in his life, Henry was quite fit and robust, as he enjoyed a very active lifestyle which included hunting, horseback riding, jousting, tennis, archery, and wrestling. He was said to have looked very much like his paternal grandfather Edward IV, as well as having a fair and bright complexion with a face so round and beautiful that it would easily compliment a woman's features. His hair was auburn and combed straight, his neck was long and thick, and the feature more people remarked upon than any other was the exquisite shape of his calves!

The beginning of his end was found in one of his hobbies: JOUSTING. In 1524 he neglected to bring his visor down over his eyes and was subsequently hit violently in the forehead just over his right eye. The force of the blow knocked him off of his horse and he lay unconscious for what some say was a period of as long as two hours before coming round. From that moment on, Henry was plagued by debilitating migraines and erratic behavior for the rest of his life. The tight calf garters he wore over his socks fostered another problem which some modern physicians believe was a varicose ulcer brought about by the restricted circulation to his lower legs. The ulcer, painful and crippling, refused to heal no matter what the remedy, and Henry's active lifestyle dwindled into nonexistence. He soothed himself with excesses of food and drink instead, which wreaked havoc on his figure, bloating his waistline to a heavily obese 54 inches and causing even more health complications which many believe included type II diabetes as well as gout.

Of course, Henry VIII is best known for the heavy-handed way he handled Queens who could not give him MALE heirs. Like a child replacing a defective toy, he simply discarded each wife who could not bear him a son to prepare for the throne. His decision to bend the rules of marriage to justify his annulments / divorces with his wives caused a break with the Pope who refused to play along with his highly political whims. Henry retaliated by renouncing his Catholicism. His life of illness and excess finally took their toll in 1547, and Henry died at the age of 55. Though he finally did receive a male heir (Edward VI, who died at age 15) with wife Jane Seymour, it was his daughter , Elizabeth I, by his murdered wife Anne Boleyn who was to make her mark in English history.

*Henry spoke French, English, Latin, and a little Italian. He also played the lute and harpsichord, even composing his own music. While some sources claim that he wrote the song "Greensleeves", other sources are skeptical as the tune seemed to appear in England only after his death during his daughter Elizabeth I's reign.

*Because wine in his time was so bitter, Henry VIII drank his wine with sugar mixed in it!

*Henry always had a thirst for knowledge, and was extremely intelligent and curious, particularly in the field of medicine. He founded the Royal College of Physicians, and had his own "pharmacy" where he mixed some of his own medicines!

*The secret to Henry's obesity wasn't that secret. He drowned himself in daily large quantities of breads, sugars, and fatty meats while consuming almost no vegetables at all, as he scornfully regarded them as indigestible peasant food. What little fruit he ate usually was in the form of his favorite: strawberries. Much of the water was undrinkable so he quenched his thirst with a fair amount of wine instead.

*This restoration, more than most, was a unique challenge in that not only did I need to arrange Henry's features in proportion to his head, I also needed to uncover the bone structure beneath the layers of fat. To do that, I studied paintings of Henry as a child, his father, mother, and grandfather (who Henry was said to have resembled) to get a baseline idea of his own basic facial structure. I also studied known photographs of middle-aged actors with similar facial features to Henry who also had younger, slimmer photos of themselves to compare to and study how age and weight changes manifest in the face.

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