Later in life, Henry was grossly overweight, with a waist measurement of 54 inches (137 cm), and possibly suffered from gout. The well known theory that he suffered from syphilis was first promoted approximately 100 years after his death. More recent support for this idea has come from a greater understanding of the disease and has led to the suggestion that Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I all displayed symptoms characteristic of congenital syphilis. Henry's increased size dates from a jousting accident in 1536. He suffered a thigh wound which not only prevented him from taking exercise, but also gradually became ulcerated and may have indirectly led to his death, which occurred on 28 January 1547 at the Palace of Whitehall. He died on what would have been his father's 90th birthday. Henry VIII was buried in St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, next to his wife Jane Seymour. Almost a hundred years later Charles I would also be buried in his grave. Within a little more than a decade after his death, all three of his children sat on the English throne, and were his only descendants.
It is suggested that Henry VIII had another child, Richard Edwardes. Richard's mother was Henry's mistress, Agnes Blewitt. Agnes was married at the time to William Edwardes and Richard took the name of his step-father out of shame. Henry never actually acknowledged Richard, but it is said that they were very close. Agnes had two other sons with William Edwardes, but Richard was the only one who she said was the son of Henry VIII. The descendants of Richard Edwardes are the only direct descendants of Henry VIII.
Under the Act of Succession 1544, Henry's only surviving son, Edward, inherited the Crown, becoming Edward VI. Edward was the first Protestant monarch to rule England. Since Edward was only nine years old at the time, he could not exercise actual power. Henry's will designated sixteen executors to serve on a council of regency until Edward reached the age of eighteen. The executors chose Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford, Jane Seymour's elder brother, to be Lord Protector of the Realm. In the event of a death without children, Edward was to be succeeded (in default of his issue) by Henry VIII's daughter by Catherine of Aragon, the Lady Mary. If the Lady Mary did not have children, she was to be succeeded by his daughter by Anne Boleyn, the Lady Elizabeth. Finally, if the Lady Elizabeth also did not have children, she was to be followed by the descendants of Henry VIII's deceased sister, Mary Tudor, Duchess of Suffolk.