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Henry, Medicine and Health

Hidden Henry Episode 1 of 5

Five academics present portraits of unknown, intimate and surprising aspects of Henry VIII's character.

Henry was a hypochondriac before the word was invented, with some good reason. He was, though, the first monarch to recognise the need for a qualified medical profession. He gave the first royal charter to the Barber Surgeons and ordered an astronomical clock for Hampton Court so that he could measure his wellbeing by the stars.

Historian Dr Elisabeth Hurren explores parts of the palace that reveal his preoccupation with health - his own and the public's - the herb garden, the astronomical clock and an area even the king could not enter, the birthing suite where his pregnant wives were confined.

She considers, too, the famous Holbein portrait of the king which portrays a man in the peak of health and at the height of his powers, but also reveals some of the health troubles that were to plague him.

Release date:

15 minutes

Last on

Mon 25 May 2009 15:45

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