Heights of History’s Heroes and Villains

I am reading a book called Mussolini’s Barber by Graeme Donald. In it, he mentions that Joseph Stalin was 5 ft 4 in tall. I don’t know about you, but this was rather a shock to me. When I looked into it, there does seem to be some debate about his actual height. What is certain, however, is that he wore special shoes and strongly discouraged (with threats of grave violence and death) artists who tried to capture his exact likeness.

I spent the rest of my Mother’s Day morning looking up the heights of other villains and heroes throughout history. It floats my boat. Without further ado, here is my bar chart. It was lovingly prepared with photos from Wikipedia and computer programmes of which I have, at best, a sketchy knowledge. You’ll get the idea though: Queen Victoria was very short and Henry VIII was a giant.

8 thoughts on “Heights of History’s Heroes and Villains

  1. I don’t think the Henry VIII is right. Tudors were mostly very small. I seem to recall something like 5 foot 6 for him. Ditto for many queen of scots – never noticed her mentioned as a giant.

    • The source for Mary Queen of Scots being 5 ft 11 was Antonia Fraser’s biography of her. Not that one biography is necessarily the last word but I trust Fraser because I once met her brother, Thomas Packenham, in a bookshop and was utterly charmed by him in his rumpled linen suit 🙂

      For Henry VIII, a couple of sources quote 6 ft 3. The Royal Armouries studied Henry’s armour and placed him above 6 ft. 6 ft 1 in. to quote an article from 2009. At the end of his reign he had a 53 inch waist!! Almost as round as he was tall.

      These heights are obviously debatable within a range but Henry was certainly tall, as was Mary.

  2. Interesting–I really like the way the chart is designed. It does a wonderful job of visually conveying the information to readers in a fun, easy-to-understand way.

    • Thank you…I frustrated myself almost to tears trying to get the chart to look right. It’s not quite how I envisioned it, but as mentioned my skills in Excel and then PowerPoint leave much to be desired.

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