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Bessie Blount: Mistress to Henry VIII [Kindle Edition]

Elizabeth Norton
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Beautiful, young, exuberant, the amazing life of Elizabeth Blount, Henry VIII's mistress and mother to his first son who came tantalizingly close to succeeding him as King Henry IX. The earliest known, and longest lasting mistress of Henry VIII, Bessie Blount was the king's first love. More beautiful than Anne Boleyn or any of Henry's other wives or concubines, Bessie's beauty and other charms ensured that she turned heads, winning a place at court as one of Catherine of Aragon's ladies. Within months she was partnering the king in dancing and she rose to be the woman with the most influence over Henry, much to Catherine of Aragon's despair. The affair lasted five years (longer than most of Henry's marriages) and in 1519 she bore Henry VIII a son, Henry Fitzroy. As a mark of his importance Cardinal Wolsey was appointed his guardian and godfather. Supplanted soon after by Mary Boleyn, Bessie's importance rests on the vital proof it gave Henry VIII that he could father a healthy son and through Henry Fitzroy, Bessie remained a prominent figure at court. In the country at large, for proving that the king was capable of fathering a son Bessie prompted the saying 'Bless'ee, Bessie Blount' and her position of mother of such an important child made her an object of interest to many of her contemporaries. Sidelined by historians until now, Bessie and the son she had by the king are one of the great 'what ifs' of English history. If Jane Seymour had not produced a male heir and Bessie's son had not died young aged 17, in all likelihood Henry Fitzroy could have followed his father as King Henry IX and Bessie propelled to the status of mother of the king.

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Product Description

About the Author

Elizabeth Norton gained her first degree from the University of Cambridge, and her Masters from the University of Oxford. Her other books include CATHERINE PARR ('Scintillating' THE FINANCIAL TIMES, 'Cuts an admirably clear path through tangled Tudor intrigues' JENNY UGLOW, 'Wonderful - a joy to read' HERSTORIA), ANNE BOLEYN: HENRY VIII'S OBSESSION ('Meticulously researched and a great read' THEANNEBOLEYNFILES.COM), ANNE OF CLEVES: HENRY VIII'S DISCARDED BRIDE, JANE SEYMOUR: HENRY VIII'S TRUE LOVE, MARGARET BEAUFORT: MOTHER OF THE TUDOR DYNASTY, ANNE BOLEYN IN HER OWN WORDS & THE WORDS OF THOSE WHO KNEW HER ('A very useful compilation of source material on Anne Boleyn - a well produced book' ALISON WEIR), ENGLAND'S QUEENS: THE BIOGRAPHY (all published by Amberley Publishing) and SHE WOLVES: THE NOTORIOUS QUEENS OF ENGLAND. She lives in Kingston Upon Thames.

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More About the Author

I am a British historian, specialising in the queens of England and the Tudor period. Find out more about what I am currently working on at my website,

I was awarded a double first class degree from the University of Cambridge and also have a masters degree from Oxford University. I am currently carrying out a research project into the Blount family of the West Midlands in the sixteenth century at King's College London.

I have written twelve non-fiction books, including 'The Boleyn Women', 'Elfrida: The First Crowned Queen of England', 'England's Queens: The Biography' (which has recently been re-released in two parts), 'Anne Boleyn: Henry VIII's Obsession' and 'Margaret Beaufort: Mother of the Tudor Dynasty'.

I make regular television appearances, including on BBC1's Flog It, BBC Breakfast, National Geographic's Bloody Tales of the Tower and Sky Arts' The Book Show. I am also regularly featured on radio and have published articles in The New Statesman, Who Do You Think You Are? magazine, Britain magazine and Your Family Tree magazine, amongst other publications.

I live in Kingston upon Thames (close to Hampton Court!) with my husband and two young sons.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Amelrode VINE VOICE
The author concludes that Bessie Blount was "one of the most accomplished women of her day" (page 288). Quite a statement for a woman largely forgotten. Does this book justify such a conclusion?

Well, the author tries very very hard to support her point, but fails to deliver the arguments. She list Bessie's family connections in length, but she would have been the case for many other members of the gentry. She was not part of the peerage. Her beauty brought her to the King's attention and she became his mistress in the sense of his bedfellow. She was no mistress-en-titre and had no influence. She became the mother of his son, a living son and this was prove that the King was able to produce a living son; so the blame for being without an male heir felt to his Queen Catherine of Aragon. So the general view at the time.

Bessie was quickly discarded, not badly treated at all, married off well and well treated. But that was all. She was in touch with her son, but not at all a major factor in his life. The author makes much about the little signs of royal favor and even more about the fact that she could have been the future King's mother if Henry VIII would have made their son heir. Well, she claims that is one of the big what ifs of history. But it was not and Henry VIII had a high regard for legimate royal blood. With her son's death she more of less disappeared form general history, living the life of a typical wife of two peers of the realm. There was nothing extraodinary about it.

The book gives a wealth of information about Bessie, her family and her two marriages after the end of her affair with the King.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 29 Jan. 2014
By Roses
I thought I was going to learn a lot about Bessie herself, but that wasn't so. Really, all I now know is that she was accomplished, pretty, mother of Henry Fitzroy and maybe her daughter was also the daughter of Henry VIII. Elizabeth Norton has done a sterling job in researching just about everything about Bessie's life, but there is very little to find beyond the bare bones. So instead of a biography we have endless padding of lists and lists of 'who's who in Tudor England': relations, friends, land, marriages. It's confusing and largely not about the central subject, who remains in the shadows.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars has a lot of information 11 Aug. 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The author has managed to dig out all sorts of information. And has also noticed that it is possible that Elizabeth was not only "the mother of the King's son" but followed that with a daughter. Just a few quibbles. And one may have nothing to do with the author, which is that the cover picture is of a little girl called Anna Meyer, which Holbein drew in 1525 before he travelled to England. Has nothing to do with Elizabeth Blount.
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