What Did They Look Like? (Part One)

What is that old saying about idle hands? Well, this is what happens when I’m left alone with my phone for too long, and am reminded how fun FaceApp can be. So, for far too many hours I tried different variations of the portraits you know. Let’s begin with the Tudors and branch out from there.

Henry VIII

Well, we’ve always heard how attractive Henry VIII is, and using FaceApp you can now discover how he would look younger, and with modern eyes:

And if it makes you feel any better, here is a sketch by Hans Holbein the Younger, it is of Henry VIII. I went ahead and gave him a smile and then made Henry look old. It turns out he is Santa Claus!

The stories we often hear of King Henry VIII are of the serious nature, but I’m confident in saying that he had a lighter side that enjoyed a good laugh or a quit smile. Here is what he may have looked like smiling:

Henry VIII was in his fifties when he died. Not old by modern standards, but in the sixteenth century is was considered old age. What would Henry have looked like if he made it to eighty?

The King had a wonderful relationship with his mother, and mourned her loss grately. In a letter to Erasmus he says:

The news of the death of the King of Castile, my much lamented brother, I had received with regret long before I read of it in your letter. Would that it had come much later or had been less true! For never since the death of my most dear mother has a less welcome message come to me. And to speak the truth, I was not so ready to attend to your letter as its singular elegance demanded, because it appeared to reopen a wound which time had begun to heal.

Elizabeth of York

Elizabeth of York was known for her beauty, and it should come as no surprise, being the daughter of King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville – both described as very attractive for the time.

When we look at her most well-known portrait we see Elizabeth without a smile (obviously), but on the left I’ve added a smile. You can more easily see her beauty now.

The portrait and stained glass images from the 15th century are not the most accurate interpretation of what these people looked like. In an equally inaccurate interpretation, I show you what she may have looked like as a young girl:

When Elizabeth of York died in 1503, it is likely she didn’t look like this, but it’s nice to imagine what she could have looked like much older.

Edward IV

The portraits we see of Edward IV, in my opinion, do not reflect what we’ve been told about his attractiveness. If only Holbein had been around to capture their likeness!

Using FaceApp, I created what Edward IV may have looked like as a child, and this is what it gave me:

As we continue the aging process (yet he never changes his clothing) to a teenaged Edward we come up with this:

And of course, what would he have looked like when he was smiling?

Far more attractive smiling, wouldn’t you say?

I imagine, the below image, is what Edward IV looked like after a day with his harem of women (I’m joking):

In his forties at the time of his death, Edward was not old by today’s standards but for the everyday subject of the king it was considered old age. What would Edward IV looked like when he aged more?

And how about some added fascial hair?

Elizabeth Woodville

The beautiful wife of Edward IV whose mere prescense caused such a stir, Elizabeth Woodville is next on our list. How did she look when she smiled?

While I believe she had light colored hair, he we get a look at what Elizabeth Woodville may have looked like in her childhood:

All the portraits we have of Elizabeth Woodville appear to be of her time as queen, but once she became queen dowager we lose sight of her image. Is this what she may have looked like as an older woman?

Even older:

Henry VII

Henry VIII’s father, his predecessor, is next. King Henry VII, son of Margaret Beaufort and Edmund Tudor. What did Henry look like when he was smiling?

The only portraits we have of Henry is as King of England. But using FaceApp we can take a look at what he may have looked like as a child:

By the time he was a teenager he was on the run with his uncle Jasper, and may have resembled this in appearance:

And what may he have looked like as an old man? We have two options:

Funeral Effigy

So we’ve looked at Edward IV, Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York and Henry VII, but what about funeral effigies?

Mary I of England

Here are a few of them brought to life – we begin with Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon. On the right we have the effigy and On the left added hair.

We have often heard of how attractive Mary was in her younger years – here is what she may have looked like as a child: (sans makeup of course)

As a young adult:

And how she would have looked as an old lady:

Catherine of Valois

And then we have Catherine of Valois, the grandmother of Henry VII. Much like Mary, her effigy is quite minimal. Because of this I had to work a little magic to bring her to life. First I added hair:

What could she have looked like in her younger years?

And slightly older:

And as an older woman:

Elizabeth of York

We already looked at her above, but what about her funeral effigy?

Let’s take a look at her funeral effigy (which should be a near likeness), next to my version of what she could have looked like:

And that’s where we will end the first part in this series. Stay tuned for future creations and weak storytelling.


2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Thank you for doing these. Very interesting! Elizabeth Woodville is my 14th Great Grandmother & I bear a striking resemblance to her so it’s really neat to see. I enjoyed all the recreations & look forward to seeing more.☺️

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *