LESS THAN ROYAL: Mummified head long believed to be King Henry IV but not be related at all
According to historical legend, King was exhumed and beheaded during French Revolution
It comes as a major disappointment for a rather ghastly historical relic . The mummified head long believed to be that of French King Henry IV three years ago may not belong to him, after all!
Henry IV's grave was reportedly among those ransacked in 1793, when French revolutionaries took to mutilating dead monarchs as a statement against royal rule.
History would repeat itself when an assassin took Henry IV's life in 1610. Buried in the Basilica of Saint Denis in Paris, his rest was said to have been disturbed.
Henry IV's grave was reportedly among those ransacked in 1793, when French revolutionaries took to mutilating dead monarchs as a statement against royal rule. The disrupted graves were sealed up again in the early 1800s. There was really no way to verify whether Henry IV's body was beheaded at this time or left alone.
A forensic examination of the mummified head in 2010 said that the purported head was indeed that of Henry IV's. Osteo-archaeologist Philippe Charlier of University Hospital R Poincaré in Garches, France and his colleagues pointed to the evidence. The mummy head has an irregular mole on the nostril and a pierced right ear, both features seen on contemporary portraits of Henry IV.
Researchers then used digital facial reconstruction on the head, which had been in the hands of private collectors, to identify it as the "good King Henry," who ruled France from 1589 to 1610.
However - a new DNA study throws the original identification into controversy. A team led by Jean-Jacques Cassiman of the University of Leuven in Belgium found that DNA recovered from the head does not match that from the House of Bourbon, Henry's lineage.
"In order to realize an accurate genetic identification of historical remains, DNA typing of living persons, who are paternally or maternally related with the presumed donor of the samples, is required," Cassiman says.
It must be noted that testing old DNA is tricky and far too little DNA was recovered from the mummified head to entirely rule it out as Henry's, according to Cassiman.
Using markers on the male, or Y, chromosome, Cassiman and his colleagues found that there was no match between the head's DNA and that of three living descendants of the king.
Maternal DNA evidence also suggested the head might not be Henry IV's. At least one of the women in the king's lineage would have to have not actually been biologically related to her child for the head to be Henry's, the results suggest.
Discover the true meaning of Christmas!
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Europe News
- Pope Francis: Jesus Became Poor, So that by His Poverty You Might Become Rich
- DEFIANT RUSSIA: Leadership disregarding tough talk from Obama
- Long-lost pirate's treasure could be hidden off Irish coast
- British mom gets second opinion - and finds her unborn baby ALIVE, in spite of doctors
- Calling the Ecclesial Movements: Pope Francis Encourages Focolare, all the Movements, So Do We!
- Oops! Pope Francis accidentally mutters obscenity
- One rape or sexual assault reported by members of the Armed Forces - EVERY WEEK
- Pope Francis Writes to Families Seeking Prayer for the Synod on the Family
- After scandal, overseer gives Legion of Christ clean bill of health
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?