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The Tudor Society
  • Bessie Blount and Henry Fitzroy

    In this week’s video, author Sarah Bryson talks about Henry VIII’s mistress, Elizabeth (Bessie) Blount and the son she had by the king, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset.

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  • Elizabeth (Bessie) Blount by Sarah Bryson

    I’ve been talking about Henry VIII’s illegitimate and alleged illegitimate children in my Claire Chats videos recently so it seems appropriate to look at a woman who was the mother of the king’s only acknowledged illegitimate child, his son Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset. Over to Sarah…

    Elizabeth “Bessie” Blount was the daughter of John Blount and his wife Katherine Pershall. She was born around 1498 at Kinlet Hall. Bessie’s grandmother, through her mother, had been Isabel Stanley, daughter of Sir John Stanley, a distant relative of Lord Thomas Stanley whom had married Margaret Beaufort, Henry VII’s mother. It had been Isabel’s brother Sir Humphrey Stanley whom had arranged the marriage between John Blount and his niece Katherine Pershall when the couple were only young. Sir Humphrey, while quite a rouge was also a Knight of the Body to King Henry VII.

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  • 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.

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  • Henry Fitzroy, 1st Duke of Richmond and Somerset

    Henry Fitzroy was the illegitimate child of Henry VIII, the second Tudor monarch, with his mistress Elizabeth Blount. In 1512, when Henry VIII was approximately twenty-one years of age a beautiful young woman came to court. Her name was Elizabeth “Bessie” Blount and at that time she had no idea the future that lay ahead of her. While the Blounts were not members of nobility, they were members of the gentry who through opportunity, connections and talent had earned a place at court. It is believed that it was William Blount, Lord Mountjoy, Queen Katherine of Aragon’s chamberlain, who acquired a place at court for Elizabeth Blount. Sometime between 1513 – 1514, Bessie became a maid of honour to the Queen. As a maid of honour, Bessie would have had to have been beautiful and well-mannered, with all the accomplishments suitable for a young lady of the time. She’d need to be able to play a musical instrument, to sing and dance, to sew and embroider, to know her place and, most importantly, be devout to the Catholic faith. It is reported that Bessie was a very talented singer and dancer, and it may have been these talents which attracted the young Henry VIII.

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