The Tudor Society
  • June 15 – Henry Fitzroy

    Miniature of Henry Fitzroy by Lucas Horenbout

    The 15th June 1519 is the traditional birthdate of Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset, although the 18th is a more likely date.

    Fitzroy’s mother, Elizabeth Blount, known as Bessie Blount, was serving as one of Catherine of Aragon’s maids of honour when she was noticed by the king and became his mistress. After it was found that she was pregnant, she was sent to the Priory of St Lawrence, in Blackmore, Essex, by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey before her pregnancy became visible.

    Bessie’s baby boy was baptised at the chapel at Blackmore with Cardinal Wolsey acting as godfather.

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  • 26 November – The first men executed under Elizabeth I’s new law and the marriage of Henry Fitzroy

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th November 1585, Catholic priest Hugh Taylor and his friend Marmaduke Bowes were hanged at York.

    They were the first men executed under Elizabeth I’s 1585 statute which made it treason to be a Jesuit or seminary priest in England or to harbour such a priest.

    These two Catholics were beatified in 1987 by Pope John Paul II as two of the 85 Martyrs of England, Scotland and Wales.

    Find out more about these men and what this 1585 legislation was all about in this talk…

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  • 15 June – Henry Fitzroy, Henry VIII’s illegitimate son

    15th June 1519 is the traditional birthdate of King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy.

    Find out a bit more about Fitzroy in this latest edition of TudorHistoryShorts…

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  • 26 November – Henry Fitzroy gets married

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th November 1533, in the reign of King Henry VIII, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset, illegitimate son of King Henry VIII, married Mary Howard, daughter of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, at Hampton Court Palace. They were both fourteen years old.

    It appears that the marriage, which was a political match rather than a love match, was the idea of Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn.

    Find out more about Henry Fitzroy and Mary Howard’s marriage and its context in today’s talk.

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  • 22 July – The death of Henry Fitzroy, Henry VIII’s illegitimate son

    1536 was an eventful year for Henry VIII! Just over two months after the fall of his second wife, Queen Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s only son, his illegitimate son by Elizabeth Blount, died on 22nd July 1536 at St James’s Palace. It was a huge blow for the king.

    In today’s “on this day” talk, I give details of Fitzroy’s illness, death and burial, and also just how much of a favourite he was with his father.

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  • Mary Howard Quiz

    This week’s Sunday fun is a quiz on a Tudor lady: Mary Howard, cousin of Queens Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard. Enjoy getting those little grey cells working with these ten questions – good luck!

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  • Mary Howard, Duchess of Richmond and Somerset

    Born in 1519, Mary Howard was the daughter of Thomas Howard, third Duke of Norfolk. Her mother, Elizabeth, was the daughter of the disgraced Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham. Mary was highly educated, and spent the majority of her childhood at the family residences in Norfolk. As she entered her teenage years, Mary participated in ceremonies at court, including that of her kinswoman Anne Boleyn’s elevation to the marquisate of Pembroke in September 1532. It is likely that Mary also attended Anne’s coronation the following summer, and she carried the chrism at Princess Elizabeth’s christening in September. She seems to have shared the queen’s reformist sympathies and was rebuked by her brother for her love of reading the scriptures.

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  • Bessie Blount and Henry Fitzroy

    Miniature of Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset, by Lucas Horenbout

    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

    Miniature of Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset, by Lucas Horenbout

    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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  • June 2015 Tudor Life Magazine

    Here’s the latest magazine with all our regular items and contributors plus lots of fascinating articles about people and places from the Tudor period.

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