The history of Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset….

It has to be said that his Beaufort lineage is only too clear – the features of Margaret Beaufort and Henry VII are obvious.

This interesting, very readable article is about Henry VIII’s illegitimate son Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset. It’s interesting and very readable, and definitely not anti-Richard III, mostly the opposite in fact. But it doesn’t spare Henrys VII and VIII. I enjoyed reading it in spite of a few bloopers that are nevertheless not provocative.

Reading strictly as a Ricardian, the following passages are among those that caught my attention:-

“….Edward, Earl of Warwick, son of the Duke of Clarence, who had been nominated by Richard III as his heir, when his own son died….”

This ‘fact’ is repeated elsewhere, i.e. that Warwick was Richard’s heir. No one knows who Richard wished to be his heir, and it seems much more likely to have been another nephew, John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, son of Richard’s sister. To nominate Warwick would actually have been to concede that Warwick was a true heir to the throne, which he wasn’t unless his father’s attainder was reversed. Edward IV excluded Warwick and his sister from the succession because of this. The attainder and its terms were still in force when Richard came to the throne, and if Richard reversed it he would be denying the succession to his own son. Would you do that if you were him? No, nor me.

“….There is no real evidence that Richard III had murdered his nephews, although he was responsible for having their older half-brother, Sir Richard Grey executed without trial….”

Richard was too lenient! He should have executed the lot of them. They were traitors who would have snuffed him at the first opportunity. And his son. What was he supposed to do, kneel down over the block and bare his neck to be super-obliging?

“….His [Fitzroy’s] father, Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond [no, he wasn’t, he was plain Henry Tudor], had won the crown of England by defeating the existing and legitimate, King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, and that was only because Richard III had been killed during the battle. The Tudors had no other real claim to the throne….”

Agreed. The writer later asks why on earth Richard wore his crown, thus making himself so conspicuous on the field. Well, Richard was no shrinking violet. He was king, he was there to defend his throne, and nothing on God’s own earth would have persuaded him not to display his full identity. It was cowardly Tudor who lurked behind his army and may have resorted to using several doubles…or so the story goes. But it has to be said that Henry not only survived but won. Throughout his reign he didn’t once expose himself to real danger in the field. So who was wiser? Tudor or Richard? Well, Tudor, obviously, but who was nobler and more splendidly heroic? Richard. He went down fighting ferociously and was true to himself to the very end. That’s why we all admire him so to this day. He wasn’t the tallest and most physically imposing of monarchs, but his spirit was the most magnificent.

“….Edward IV, himself, born in Rouen, had a dodgy claim to legitimacy, since his father, Richard Duke of York, left soon after his wedding to Cecily, to continue his military campaigns in France, leaving a hunky archer, Blaybourne, to guard his wife’s bedroom door. When he returned he found his wife was pregnant, and Blaybourne had scarpered off home to Sussex just before he arrived. The baby boy was born after a pregnancy which apparently had lasted 11 months. Cecily herself was to admit her fling with Blaybourne later. This did not affect the two younger sons who were definitely legitimate. George, Duke of Clarence, (second in line after Edward IV), was executed by drowning in a butt of malmsey wine on orders from his older brother Edward IV who kindly allowed him to chose his method of death. When Edward IV died he left two young sons (and many daughters). Edward IV’s youngest brother took the throne as Richard III….”

Um… The writer seems to have explosive inside knowledge here! 

“….Richard III had considered making John of Gloucester his heir when his son died, but decided on his nephew Edward, Earl of Warwick. (And both “disappeared” when Henry VII [was] in power)….”

Richard would no doubt have liked to make John of Gloucester his heir, but the boy was illegitimate. The illegitimacy of Edward IV’s children was the very reason Richard himself was on the throne, so he was hardly likely to commit the same sin of foisting his baseborn son on the realm. But yes, Henry VII did away with both boys.

“….As far as the Duke of Richmond is concerned, he left no direct descendants, as far as we know, no children of his own. No nieces and nephews either. Since neither his sister and two brothers on the Tailboys side, or his two half sisters and half brother on his father’s side had any children. However recently it was possible to to track DNA from Richard III who also had no direct descendants, and find a correllation in a distant relative. So it is possible with Richmond too. A skilled examination of his remains would not only identify them as his or not but if it was then probably clear up the cause of his death, as it did with Richard III, and enable a reconstruction of his appearance….”

Oh, the mysteries that could be solved by the opening of a tomb! Or a certain urn….

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