Scientists say they have identified an embalmed head as belonging to King Henri IV of France, who was assassinated in 1610 at the age of 57. He remains France’s most beloved monarch to date. ( See Related News BBC Report )
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A team of 20 scientists succeeded in identifying as an embalmed head to that ofthe French king Henry IV. Henry was assassinated in 1610 during the FrenchRevolution and lost his head when revolutionaries the royal tombs in the basilica of Saint-Denis in Paris plundered. Louis-Alphonse de Bourbon, Duke ofAnjou and a descendant of Henry, is excited and hopes that the head after morethan two centuries back to the tomb of the king at Saint-Denis.
Prince Louis Alfonse de Bourbon Heir to the French Throne from the Spanish Branch ( related to current King Juan Carlos)
The “Good” King Henry IV ( Le Bon Roi Henry IV):
The head was lost after revolutionaries ransacked the royal chapel at Saint Denis, near Paris, in 1793.
A head, presumed to be that of Henri IV,has passed between private collectors since then.
A team of scientists used the latest forensic techniques to identify features seen in portraits of the king.
AP News on the same discovery:
Despitea lack of verifiable DNA evidence, scientists were still able to confirm that ahead found in an attic belonged to one of France’s most beloved kings, HenryIV.
A lesion near his nose, a pierced ear and ahealed facial wound – from a previous assassination attempt – were among the marks that identified the head.
The methods used to embalm the head alsomatched techniques in use at the time of his death, said the scientists in areport published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
‘Worth a Mass’
It was not possible to use DNA evidence to identify the head because it was impossible to find a sample from it that couldbe guaranteed to be uncontaminated.
“The human head had a light brown colour, open mouth and partially closed eyes,” said the scientists, led by forensic pathologist Philippe Charlier.
“The preservation was excellent, with all soft tissues and internal organs well conserved.”
King Henri IV was one of France’s favourite monarchs.
Trailer of Bio Epic: Assassination of HenryIV ( French):
Trailer of Bio Epic: Assassination of HenryIV ( With English subtitles):
Opening of Bio Epic: Assassination of Henry IV:
He converted to Catholicism to end France’s wars of religion, declaring “Paris is worth a Mass”, but was later killed by a Catholic fundamentalist.
Mass Procession for Henry IV, May 14th,2010:
Masscommemorating the 400th anniversary of the assassination of Henri IV, at St Denis Basilica, May 14, 2010, with Bishop Aumonier of Versailles
He built the Pont Neuf bridge and the Place des Vosges in Paris. Henri was the first of the Bourbon line of monarchs, which included his grandson Louis XIV, the Sun King.
His head will now be reinterred in the Basilica of Saint Denis after a national Mass and funeral next year.