Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Henry IV's head

The embalmed head of King Henry IV of France has been rediscovered and confirmed as genuine after a series of scientific tests. After Henry was assassinated in 1610 his head was kept in the royal chapel in Paris until it was ransacked in 1793. The head was then kept in private hands before reappearing in public. One piece of evidence which assisted the scientists was a healed facial wound, left from a previous assassination attempt. Henry played a significant role in French history as he converted to Catholicism when he became King and enacted the Edict of Nantes in 1598, guaranteeing religious freedom and effectively the 36 year long French Wars of Religion. He was given the nickname "Le Vert Galant" or "The Green Galant" which (according to Wikipedia) "is a reference to both his dashing character and his attractiveness to women."

PS: Here are articles on the subject (in French!) from Le Monde and Le Figaro.

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