The Tudor Society

Expert Talk: Kyra Kramer on Henry VIII’s Health

This month we are happy to have Kyra Kramer as our expert speaker. In this talk Kyra discusses the various illnesses and maladies which affected Henry VIII during his life. We'll learn about how Henry went from being a virtuous prince early in his life to being the "Mouldwarp" at the end of his life. It's a fascinating talk!

Our live chat session date and time with Kyra Kramer will be announced shortly, and it's sure to be a fascinating discussion!

There are 11 comments Go To Comment

  1. L

    This will be a very good debate, because everyone knows my theory on what was wrong with our “enry apart from breathing that is.
    Would be interesting to hear Kyra’s opinion on it too.
    I love these author talks, we get to meet some wonderful historians and share a wealth of information, as well as having a good laugh.

  2. L

    I’ve read Kyra’s book and I really enjoyed it. It will be a very interesting talk

  3. J

    I must read Kyra Kramer’s books. Since reading biographies of Henry VIII, I have been struck by the young god-king, the virtuous prince that characterizes the first years of Henry’s reign to the tyrannical and brutal man of the following years. Will a transcript of the abovementioned debate be published here? I doubt if I can see/listen to the debate, as I live in the U.S.

    1. C

      Hi Jane,
      The live chat mentioned under the video above will take place on the chatroom at so is open to all members. You just type in your question or comment and then Kyra can answer you. We do these talks and live chats on a monthly basis and they’re really interesting and fun.

  4. J

    Thank you, Claire–I shall be watching for this. I’ve ordered two of Kyra Kramer’s books, expect them late in this coming week. If I watch more of these videos, which I know I will, I might well go broke buying books! My local library has shamefully little in their collection of British history.

  5. L

    This video was very thought provoking and I think Kyra will face many questions from us all.

  6. D

    That’s possibly the best presentation I’ve ever seen on this subject. Like, serious wow here. I’m going to have to buy her books now.

    So little time. So many good books…

  7. D

    I agree with you there Doc.
    What Kyra had to say was very well put forward and researched. Wasn’t grossed out by the photos either! those poor people, what a dreadful disease syphillis is if untreated.
    I agree with her final sentiments too, that Henry should not just be remembered for the axe wielding, wife murdering, obese tyrant he became, it narrows down the full history about a man and king that did a lot of good before he did the dreadful. Can’t wait for the live chat tomorrow. Thank you Kyra for the video, need the book now!!! Lol.

  8. K

    I loved this talk! kyra your enthusiasm, wit, and absolutely evident knowledge were contagious. I have a questin though i missed the online chat. Is Kell the same as RH syndrome?

    Also I am the mother of twins who had fetal alloimmune thrombocytopenia. My doctor delivered 4000 infants (including Katie Couric’s daughters) and i was his first patient to have this occur. I am also an RH baby who benefited from rhogam discoveries.

    Essentially, my platelet toe is PL1 Negative. My understanding is .1 % of the population has this type. My first child a daughter was fine. The boys were born at term and fine and the crashed sfter a few days of alloimmune attack on their platlets… Almost died. Thanks to medical knowlege here in the DC metro area and the benefit of transfusions they survived, but most likely would have died of intercranial hemorrhagic events without. They have a lot of issues now… Autism, mental helath isses like OCD, but are very bright a nd sweet.

    I just wonder asside from Kell if there could have been other alloimmunity issues in the Tudor Period that could have had an impact.

    Enjoyed your talk and humor especially. You will have three purchases from me in no time!

    Kim Carlisle
    Alexandria, Va

  9. T

    Thank you, Kyra!! I enjoyed your talk so much!!! Especially the part about the Kell positive blood and tracing it back to Joquetta. I agree with you 100%! Also, my husband is a physician and is currently researching CTE… and having learned so much about it from him, I am completely convinced that Henry developed CTE from repeated head trauma over time. I think that is the number one reason why he had such huge personality changes and became a “monster”. And I do not think it’s his fault at all. I am SO grateful thank you mentioned this in your presentation!! I believe it should be talked about more…Henry VIII=CTE! It is truly, in my opinion, the only logical thing responsible for his altered mental health!! I wish you could do a presentation on just this subject…”Did Henry have CTE?”. That would be amazing, and also educate so many people about CTE which is very much needed! Developing CTE is one of the most horrible things that can happen to a person! I, myself, respect Henry for the king he was, not the man he became. But, as I said, it wasn’t the poor guy’s fault! Thank you again for this wonderful presentation. I believe it’s the best I’ve ever heard on the subject! Well done!👍🏻😁

  10. L

    Thank you, Kyra, it was interesting. McLeod syndrome is caused by an X-linked recessive (mutated) gene of the Kell blood group system. This is inherited like the hemophilia illness inherited by male descendants of Queen Victoria. The hemophilia was caused by another X-linked recessive gene.
    Henry’s son, Edward, would not have had the mutated McLeod gene, since he did not inherit Henry’s X chromosome. He got his X from his mother. Males only have one X chromosome, so they get the disease if they inherit an X with the McLeod gene. Females only get the disease if both of their X chromosomes have the McLeod gene, which would be very rare.
    Therefore, both of Henry’s daughters, Elizabeth and Mary, would have inherited the McLeod gene on one of their X chromosomes, but would not have gotten the syndrome. If they had sons, about half of them would have had McLeod’s Syndrome, because half of their sons would have inherited the X with this recessive “McLeod” gene from them.

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Expert Talk: Kyra Kramer on Henry VIII’s Health