The Tudor Society

Henry Fitzroy and Elizabeth Tailboys video

In today's Claire Chats I continue my series on those said to be illegitimate children with a look at Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset, who Henry VIII did acknowledge as his son, and his half-sister (or maybe sister) Elizabeth Tailboys.

Here are the links I mention in my video:

I also recommend Elizabeth Norton's book Bessie Blount and also Beverley Murphy's book on Henry Fitzroy Bastard Prince: Henry VIII's Lost Son.

There are 5 comments Go To Comment

  1. K

    i don’t think they should be the only options. i doubt that she was tailboys’. alternatively, he was that interested in her ’cause they bonded over shared memories of fitzroy. doesn’t make sense for the privy council to get involved unless they thought that edward would grow out of his prudery and accept his possible half-sister.

  2. K

    but bessie could’ve been tailboys’ mistress and not marry him ’til 2.6 years later. john of gaunt, ie., didn’t marry his 3rd wife ’til years later. his 2nd wife died in 1394 and he married his mistress in 1396 despite the fact that their oldest son,John Beaufort, was 24/5 when they married. they had 3 others and the youngest one was 16 or 17 when they married.

    henry was known to be generous, yet he didn’t give a lot to elizabeth tailboys according to norton’s article. just odd if he knew that she was his daughter. he was generous w/his favorites. it could be that he wasn’t even sure that she was his and they didn’t get along that well.

    the 2nd embelm of their love could be tailboys, but he could’ve started sleeping w/mary boleyn while she was pregnant and didn’t sleep w/blount anymore ’cause she got fat.

    eric ives wrote that the birth of elizabeth by anne is proof of his manhood in his book about anne boleyn. chapuys told henry that taking another queen doesn’t mean that there’ll be children and henry excitedly asked, “Am I am man like any other man?” (life and death of anne boleyn 131) that could be a reason for acknowledging tailboys’ existence. record of 5 dead kids and 2 live ones isn’t good. other men have better records.

    the privy council might’ve gotten involved ’cause they knew that henry favored her ’cause of their bond and that could be why they’d think that edward would choose to bond w/her when he was older. he was the boy king and she was old enough to be his mother!

    1. C - Post Author

      It was a marriage arranged for her by Henry VIII, though, rather than a love match, so I doubt they would have been lovers earlier than their marriage, they may not have even known each other then. Henry VIII was generous, incredibly so, and he acted to safeguard Elizabeth’s inheritance, making her financially secure, which could have just been an act of generosity, but combined with the other points that Norton makes is very compelling, I think. He didn’t need to be more generous with Elizabeth as she was in a good family and she was just a girl.

      It was quite normal for a king to recognise an illegitimate son, hence the use of “Fitzroy” (son of the king) through history.

      1. K

        financially well-off, yes, but u mentioned in the video that the paternal grandmother and the father resented her. the family tried to keep her from inheriting, so not a good family. they could’ve been jealous that the king liked it better and gave her more gifts or plain didn’t like her.

        henry just ruled in 1 court case and had them sign documents for lands before he died. doesn’t sound like much work. could’ve been him being interested in protecting the rights of his late son’s half-sister. he was a shrewd politician when it suited him and h was somewhat involved.

        seems crazy that they’d resent her when her mother’s marriage to gilbert brought them much $.

  3. K

    embelm can also be defined as a pictoral image meant to represent something. other embelms of their love could be portraits of fitzroy.

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Henry Fitzroy and Elizabeth Tailboys video