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« Elizabeth I’s Christmas Treats | Main | Medieval Poo »

No Jousting Allowed

By Madeline | December 24, 2007

…after a holiday feast that is.

In his youth, Henry VIII was quite the active, sporty adolescent who engaged, and excelled in, tennis, jousting and anything else that was challenging and physical.  As he began to grow older, an injury in his leg caused by an old jousting wound caused him grow lazy and overindulgent and soon his once famed sculpted physique melted into layers upon layers of fat.

In 1541, five wives later and six years before his death, Henry passed the Unlawful Gains Act which, after Christmas feasts, restricted all physically active sports except archery which was considered necessary to keep the military strong.  Perhaps he was truly just too full from the feasting to even want to watch others engage in physical activity, although I have a sneaking suspicion that he was put off by all of the young, physically fit men who were still able to compete thus making him feel old, fat and inadequate.

So this year, if you eat too much food during the holidays and don’t much feel like jousting, well, you have Henry VIII and his girth to thank for that.

Topics: Tudor Era |

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