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The madness of King Henry VIII

Researchers are proposing that the madness of King Henry VIII could be attributed to a genetic disorder.

Among other theories, experts have proposed that Henry suffered from Type II diabetes, syphilis, an endocrine problem called Cushing’s syndrome, or myxedema, which is a byproduct of hypothyroidism.

All of those theories have flaws, Whitley said, and none address the monarch’s reproductive woes. Two of his six wives — Ann Boleyn and Katherine of Aragon — are thought to have suffered multiple miscarriages, often in the third trimester.

To explain those patterns, Whitley and colleague Kyra Kramer offer a new theory: Henry may have belonged to a rare blood group, called Kell positive. Only 9 percent of the Caucasian population belongs to this group.

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Story: Emily Sohn, Discovery News | Photo: Corbis

One thought on “The madness of King Henry VIII

  1. For those who might have an interest in a modern day version of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, there is a play in preparation that will be available online. The play is called, “In the Real World” and it is a mystery, as much “To whom was it done?” as “Who done it?” Just to make matters more intriguing, Houdini puts in an appearance. I’ll post the full details when the show is finished. Please stay tuned.

    Roy Schreiber

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