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How handsome was British King Henry VIII?

King Henry VIII, who ruled England from April 1509 until his death in January 1547, was known to be an attractive and charismatic man.

world Updated: Feb 20, 2011 12:46 IST

King Henry VIII, who ruled England from April 1509 until his death in January 1547, was known to be an attractive and charismatic man.

Now, scientists have sought the British Queen's permission to dig King Henry VIII up to find out how handsome he was -- in fact they want to recreate the way he looked with near-photographic accuracy.

Bioarchaeologist Catrina Whitley and anthropologist Kyra Kramer aim to use new computer techniques to reconstruct the king's exact facial features if his skull remains intact.

They want to see if he was as handsome as Jonathan Rhys Meyers depicted him in the BBC series The Tudors and decide if a rare disease may have caused his foul temper, the 'Sunday Express' reported.

The two US scientists can only prove he was insane rather than evil if they can persuade the Queen to allow them to carry out DNA tests on his skeleton at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle.

Dr Whitley said: "If our theory is correct that he had McLeod's, which can cause schizophrenia, it will throw a whole new perspective on his behaviour. Using his skull to create a computer-generated image of how he really looked would be a wonderful conclusion to many years of painstaking research."

Depictions of historical figures are inaccurate as artists were commissioned to paint flattering portraits of their subjects.

Both Whitley and Kramer believe that, if they can capture Henry's true likeness, the process might be replicated for other significant figures from history.