In the 4th installment of our series on drunken world leaders, we profile England’s most infamous King, Henry the Eighth, and one of the most murderous leaders in Russian history, Ivan the Terrible. Their alcoholism, which has been well documented, most likely has a direct correlation to their vulgar displays of power and excessive violence.
Henry the Eighth:
King of England and founder of the Church of England, infamous womanizer and wife killer Henry the Eighth was an alcoholic. Henry the VIII actually celebrated and partied when he heard the news that his wife of 27 years, Catherine of Aragon, had died. After Catherine’s death, Henry then had his next wife Anne Boleyn executed. According to James Graham, Henry’s exultation of Anne Boleyn’s supposed adultery was a classic sign of Alcoholism. Not only did Henry claim that Anne slept with more than 100 men, Henry also claimed that Anne had a sexual relationship with her brother; all of which was most likely untrue. After Henry’s third wife died and his rejection of fourth wife, Anne of Cleaves, Henry had his fifth wife Catherine Howard, beheaded for adultery. As for Henry’s next wife, Catherine Parr, she also came very close to a beheading after arguing religion with Henry as portrayed in Showtime’s hit show, The Tudor’s. Henry also executed his closest friends and most powerful political allies, Thomas Moore, Thomas Cromwell and of course Thomas Wolsey who died before the scheduled execution. Henry’s alcoholism simply transformed itself into megalomania. Henry was King of England from 1509 to 1547 and died at the age of 58.
The First Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible:
The first Tsar of Russia, Ivan the Terrible had egocentricity and vicious cruelty often unmatched. After Ivan believed the town Novgorod was no longer loyal, Ivan and his army invaded the city and began executing 1000 citizens a day. Fathers were quartered, wives were burned alive and babies executed with their mothers. Ivan and son sat and watched the executions. Ivan then held mass drownings to speed up the accumulation of death. The Tsar also had some of his closest allies executed and then raped their wives and robbed their families riches. Sometimes during drunken parties, Ivan let bears loose on humans to have them torn apart for his enjoyment. Ivan even murdered his own son over a silly argument. Ivan’s heavy drinking was documented when he was a teenager and only got worse when he grew older. The drinking had taken a severe toll on Ivan’s physical traits. Even at the age of 34 it is speculated that Ivan looked like an old man. I actually know an alcoholic with this exact trait. This trait most likely cannot be reversed and is indicative of much internal damage as well. Ivan the Terrible was a murderous alcoholic and his unadulterated violence was directly related to alcoholism. Ivan ruled from 1547 until 1584 and died from a stroke at the age of 54.
Source: Vessels of Rage, Engines of Power
The Book Vessels of Rage, Engines of Power is available on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Vessels-Rage-Engines-Power-Alcoholism/dp/0963024221