After 35 years in power, Henry VIII was a bloated, hideously obese, black-humoured old man, rarely seen in public. He had striven all his life to ensure the survival of his dynasty by siring legitimate sons, yet his only male heir was eight-year-old Prince Edward. It was increasingly obvious that when Henry died, real power in England would be exercised by a regent. The prospect of that prize spurred the rival court factions into deadly conflict.
Robert Hutchinson spent several years in original archival research. He advances a genuinely new theory of Henry's medical history and the cause of his death; he has unearthed some fabulous eyewitness material and papers from death warrants, confessions and even love letters between Katherine Parr and the Lord High Admiral. 12