5 ways in which Henry VIII’s “bastard son” rocked the Tudor court

Five centuries ago this summer, Henry VIII got the thing he craved most: a son. But the baby boy was illegitimate – and that, says Mathew Lyons, had serious ramifications for king and country

Beloved son: Henry Fitzroy shown in a c1534 miniature. Henry VIII called his illegitimate son his "worldly jewel" and showered him with titles, much to Catherine of Aragon's displeasure. (Photo by Alamy)

This article was first published in the August 2019 edition of BBC History Magazine


He hoovered up England’s titles

On 18 June 1525, a six-year-old boy made a dazzling entrance onto England’s public stage. In a ceremony at London’s grand Bridewell Palace, the boy was made Earl of Nottingham and then Duke of both Richmond and Somerset. The “right high and noble prince”, as the youngster was now styled, had become the highest ranking member of the English nobility.

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