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The Squinting Usurper


“The wooden bust is all that’s left of the effigy that graced his
coffin on procession. So I suppose you’re right — the effigy is based
on the death mask. But if you Google for desk mask Henry VII, the bit
of effigy is what comes up. Sorry for not being more exact.

To me, the effigy has Henry’s left eye looking outward slightly — not
inward. So not cross-eyed. Perhaps there are other sources that can
clarify if this is correct. I’ve seen his vision described as “cast
eye” and “a squint”.

Henry seems to have had an eye condition called strabismus which
prevents the eyes from aiming at the same point in space. It’s also
known as heterotropia and includes three variants: cross-eye, lazy-eye
and walleye. This condition includes horizontal tropias exotropia and
esotropia which are outward and inward horizontal deviations and
hypertropia and hypotropia which are when one eye is set higher or
lower than the other eye. Exotropia and esotropia are also known as
divergent or convergent squint respectively.

But hey, he can be crosseyed if you like. Or perfect-visioned and
slanty-charactered. St Henry, patron saint to the greedy.”


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5 thoughts on “The Squinting Usurper

  1. As an optometrist, the terms for squint or tropia are esotropia (eyes turn in and cross) and exotropia (eyes turn out). Both mean that the brain uses one eye and forgets about the other image to prevent double vision, which confuses the brain. This sight loss is called amblyopia, when the brain learns to ignore one eye. Small children are more likely to develop esotropia. Adults who have lost the sight of one eye are more likely to develop exotropia as the eye is effectively blind, no image is going to the brain to let it “know” the eye us there so it drifts out to the position it occupies in the skull (pointing out) when you sleep.

    There is a picture of Perkin Warbeck showing a slight exotropia, and it was thought that this might be an inherited trait from his dad, Edward IV.


  2. I have just heard from a medical professional:
    “Can I just say that it is known that the Tudor’s had failing eyesight and that he used a solution of ‘eyebright’ (Euphrasia) to bathe his eyes?”


  3. Pingback: THE DEATH OF HENRY VII | murreyandblue


  5. Pingback: Henry VII and his “striking blue eyes”….! | murreyandblue

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