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Bastard Prince: Henry VIII's Lost Son

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It took Henry VIII 28 years, three wives, and a break with Rome before he secured a legitimate male heir. Yet he already had the illegitimate Henry Fitzroy. Fitzroy was born in 1519 after the king's affair with a gentlewoman named  Elizabeth Blount. He was the only illegitimate offspring ever acknowledged by Henry VIII, and Cardinal Wolsey was even one of his godparents. The Duke of Richmond, Fitzroy was educated as befitted a Renaissance prince and the offices bestowed upon him included Lord Lieutenant of the North and Lord Admiral of England; indeed rumors abounded that Henry VIII intended to make him King of Ireland. Widely reported to resemble his father, in both looks and character, he weathered the difficult years of the Reformation far better than either his sisters. This work examines just how close he came to being crowned King Henry VIX of England.

312 pages, Paperback

First published October 25, 2001

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Beverley Murphy

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Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 reviews
Profile Image for Lawrence.
47 reviews1 follower
January 10, 2011
Really enjoyed it. Like most people I've mentioned it to, I had no idea Henry VIII had illegitimate kids, let alone a son who came so close to being Henry IX. I thought the book was well written and well paced, although occassionally it seemed to move a little too quick for me. The names and familial relationships were difficult to follow sometimes, though that's no fault of the author's (almost everyone seems to have been called Henry and Mary in those days). It was interesting to read about Henry VIII's marital dramas from the point of view of his children and I remember being particularly sorry for Mary Tudor and her mother for the way they were treated, though maybe by the standards of the day it wasn't so bad.

It seems academically well grounded without being dry, and I kept thinking all the way through, that this would make a great film (or TV mini-series).
20 reviews
July 19, 2012
I really enjoyed this book, it gave me an entirely new perspective on Henry Fitzroy. I had always thought that the King heaped such honors & titles on his bastard son due to the great love he had for him. While I still believe this is true, it also had the effect of taking control of northern England away from some of the great old noble families that had ruled there for generations and setting advisors in power that owed their loyalty the King alone!
532 reviews
September 30, 2019
In this biography of Henry VIII’s illegitimate son Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond we learn about the life of one of the lesser known characters of the Tudor court. And yet Henry Fitzroy was a significant figure in the context of the Tudor period and his early death leaves many questions about what might have been.
Henry Fitzroy was living proof that the king could father healthy male children and as such exposed the lack of living sons of Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. As time went on and no legitimate male heirs were forthcoming it seemed possible that Fitzroy might fill the role; his elevation to the highly significant title of Duke of Richmond raised his profile as did his position as the king’s lieutenant in the North of England. His early death takes him off he stage and we can only wonder what might have been for this young man in the history of Tudor England.
Murphy highlights the positive relationship between father and son and manages to create something of the young man’s personality from the official records and this makes this book an interesting addition to the story of the Tudors.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Daniel Kukwa.
4,115 reviews92 followers
January 8, 2019
It's a perfectly well researched and straightforward piece of work. However, the lack of detail available about the life of Henry's illegitimate son makes much of the information used to bulk out the text feel very same-old/same-old to someone like myself who teaches Tudor history, and has encountered much of the surrounding information elsewhere. The best bits of the book occur when it has meaty details to work with about the Duke of Richmond and his mother, and that's when the book does shine. A very useful research tool, but a victim of its subject matter, with too much that can be found in other Tudor bios for me to enjoy it fully.
Profile Image for Randy Ladenheim-Gil.
197 reviews3 followers
November 6, 2019
It's rather difficult to find anything much on the Duke of Richmond, so for that reason alone, this book deserves praise. There were parts of it I didn't find all that interesting, but they did need to be there to tell the full story. I suspect there is lots more we'll never know regarding Richmond's relationships with his mother, his father, Anne Boleyn, and poor Mary Howard, who married Richmond when they were both children. I found myself agreeing with Murphy that Henry VIII never spoke of Richmond after his death because it broke his heart, and I enjoyed the epilogue, which suggests what might have happened to him and to English history if he had lived.
Profile Image for Sarah W..
2,135 reviews16 followers
January 16, 2018
I appreciate biographies focusing on the lesser-known figures of a well-known era. In this case, the author details the life of Henry VIII's illegitimate son - Henry Fitzroy, the Duke of Richmond. Since the documentation of Fitzroy's life is sparse and Fitzroy himself died young, this book digs into what is known, and engages in a little bit of speculation that anyone who knows the Tudor story would enjoy. Overall, I felt this book did a good job of being both accessible and well-researched while highlighting the less famous people in Tudor history.
Profile Image for Rick Perry.
Author 4 books17 followers
July 12, 2018
Interesting story, boring book! It reads like a very long, dull, and dry encyclopedia entry. Loaded down with facts, figures, names, and dates, the book is scholarly and well researched, but poorly presented. I wouldn't recommend this one.
Profile Image for Sarah.
386 reviews13 followers
September 5, 2014
Very interesting information and a very interesting understanding of the relationship between the Henry, his illegitimate son and the realm. I wish he hadn't died three chapters before the book ended, I understand the need to explain consequences but my interest began to flag.
Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 reviews

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