Did Henry VIII have any illegitimate male offspring?

Notoriously male-child light, King Henry VIII must have been frustrated by the fact he was able to father boys out of wedlock with comparative ease

Holbein portrait of Henry VIII

There are rumours that the King sired seven children, including five boys. Henry, however, only officially acknowledged one. Henry Fitzroy was the son of Elizabeth ‘Bessie’ Blount, one of Catherine of Aragon’s ladies in waiting (the prefix ‘Fitz’ refers to illegitimate offspring while ‘roy’ is an anglicised version of ‘roi’, meaning ‘king’).

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His exact birthdate is unknown as it was, for obvious reasons, hushed up, but it was sometime around June 1519. Six years later, as it became increasingly clear the King was having problems in the heir-department, Henry suddenly acknowledged young Fitzroy.

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In an elaborate ceremony, Henry showered money and honours upon his son, including a doubledukedom (Richmond and Somerset). Suggestions the new Duke should be married to his older half-sister, Mary, shoehorning him to pole-position for the throne, came to nothing. Any other cunning plans about his succession ended with Fitzroy’s early death in 1536, more than 10 years before his father’s demise.

This article was taken from BBC History Revealed magazine