Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Today marks the anniversary of the death, in 1536 of Henry Fitzroy, the illegitimate son of King Henry VIII and Elizabeth Blount. Notwithstanding his illegitimacy, Henry may have considered Fitzroy a possible male heir. As a child he had been raised to the nobility, being both an Earl and a double Duke. While passing on the throne to an illegitimate heir would have been extraordinary (it had never been done since the Conquest), Howard, the Duke of Norfolk and an astute (although not always effective) student of Tudor politics, must have thought it possible in that he arranged for the marriage of his daughter to Fitzroy. This is the same Howard who promoted Henry’s marriages to Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, both his nieces.
Likely Fitzroy died of tuberculosis (and not the sweating sickness that was suggested in the HBO show “The Tudors”), the same malady that would likely claim his half-brother, the future Edward VI.