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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 10 June 2012
Henry VIII's son, Henry Duke of Richmond rarely is written about. This book brings him to life. Not just a bastard son, but elevated quite high within the realm for one so young. Richmond was never hidden away and spent alot of his life at court with his father. Very well written and researched account of Tudor England. Really enjoyable.
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on 2 February 2013
Quite boring, and a big dissapointment for me started off well but started dragging it's heels was skipping page after page to find out the ending, as the book just lost my interest completely.
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on 8 October 2013
This book is interesting and incredibly detailed - but reads more like a PhD thesis than a book. However, I now know more about this Prince than I did before.
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on 30 May 2011
Everyone has heard of Henry VIII's determination to sire an heir, a son to take the throne after him, since it was a motivation for his parade of wives. Much less well-known is that during one of Katherine of Aragon's six pregnancies, Henry had a brief affair with one of her ladies who gave birth to a son in Spring 1519. Though his birth was discrete, the powerful Cardinal Thomas Wolsey stood as his godfather and named him Henry Fitzroy. His mother, Elizabeth Blount, was rewarded with an advantageous marriage, but given little control over his upbringing.

As his only surviving son, Fitzroy became increasingly important to Henry VIII as a proof of his virility and an insurance policy while waiting for the birth of a legitimate son. At the age of six he was raised to the peerage, becoming Earl of Nottingham, Duke of Richmond and Duke of Somerset at a time when there were only two other dukes (the highest rank of the peerage). As he reached adolescence, and a European princess was sought as a partner, Henry's new queen Anne Boleyn feared his influence and pushed through his marriage to a daughter of the Duke of Norfolk in the face of reluctant approveal from the King and the bride's parents.

Always close to the centre of the action, Fitzroy's steward was one of those arrested as a lover of Anne Boleyn, and following her speedy trial and conviction, Fitzroy himself was present at her execution. In July 1536, shortly after marrying Jane Seymour, Henry pushed through a Succession Act that allowed him to designate anyone as his successor, which would have cleared the way for him to name Fitzroy as his heir. At this crucial point, Fitzroy fell ill, with a rapid decline and died, plunging his father Henry VIII into a morrass of grief, such that he ordered a secret funeral. Henry Fitzroy left the world stage with the same quietness as his entry, seventeen years before.
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VINE VOICEon 20 February 2004
Henry Fitzroy was born early June 1519, the son of King Henry VIII. and his short lived mistress Elizabeth Blount. His father created him created Duke of Richmond, Duke of Somerset & Earl of Nottingham 21 June 1524. In 1533 he married the Duke' s of Norfolk daughter, Lady Mary Howard. He died in 1536 and was buried in Thetford.
One might say a short, but glorious life. But maybe it is rather uninteresting for a biography. Yes indeed, but there is the big "if" question related to Henry Fitzroy: Could he have become his father legitimate successor, could he be King Henry IX of England??
When Henry Fitzroy was born and lived his very existent seem to prove that not the King but his Queen, Catherine of Aragon, was to blame for not having a male heir to the throne. Step by step he king raised him and made him the first duke of the land. However, he never crossed the fine but distinct borderline to royalty. But still there was the possibility that he would have made him his heir.... So this book is much more than just a biography but gives the reader an inside into the complicated Tudor succession and the life at court. It shows how Henry VIII. used his son to play a powerful game. There was even the idea of marrying him to his half-sister The Princess Mary, than still the heiress of the crown, later to be Queen Mary I..
This book is full of inside into the life to the Tudor Court and the politics surrounding the succession. The Duke of Richmond is largely forgotten and not more than a footnote in history books nowadays but during his life time his very existent was a political factor one could hard ignore. The book is well written and a pleasure to read and will compliment your picture of the Tudor Court.
For the big question whether Henry VIII would have made his bastard heir to the crown I believe he would not have done it. Henry was too much king and conscious of the blood royal that he would have taken such a step. In his dealings with Queen Catherine of Aragon and her daughter Mary or with Queen Anne Boleyn and her daughter Elisabeth he always uphold the notion of legitimacy.
But read this book and find decided for yourself on your question. You will find all information necessary to decide in this excellent book.
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VINE VOICEon 24 February 2007
Well researched, and a convincing, well-supported argument examined a neglected area of British history. The style is a little technical, especially towards the end, which makes reading a little more like work than pleasure but very much worth reading, especially if you are interested in the Tudor period of history and the dynamics of Henry VIII's 'Great Matter' - the succession
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VINE VOICEon 30 January 2013
This is the only full biography of Henry Fitzroy, the illegitimate son of Henry VIII by Elizabeth Blount, a healthy and vigorous youth until he died at the age of 17. He was loaded with titles and honours, including Duke of Richmond and Somerset (at a time when there were only two other Dukes in the land, Norfolk and Suffolk), Head of the Council of the North and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He could at times have been considered a possible heir to the throne, illegitimacy at the time being partly political as well as marital (cf. the changing status of Mary and Elizabeth and, over a century earlier, the retrospective legitimation of the Beaufort line by Act of Parliament). He was by all accounts a chip off the old Henrician block in being an active sportsman and hunter, and Henry clearly rated him highly, also shown by negotiations for a prestigious foreign marriage for him (though he eventually married Mary Howard, the Duke of Norfolk's daughter). Young Henry died in July 1536, aged 17, before Edward was born, so history was denied any rivalry between the half brothers after their father's death. The slight problem with books like this is that there isn't enough known for a full biography, so there is a fair amount of general retelling of key events and how young Henry might have reacted to them, or how the key players may have taken him (or not) into account in their actions. Parts get a little tedious with recounting of endless relatively minor property disputes, but in general this gives an interesting, slightly alternative viewpoint on a very familiar historical era. 4/5
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on 23 May 2015
A very interesting and well written and researched account of the life of a man who seems to have been largely airbrushed from our history. Murphy does him a justice that has been missing for several centuries.
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on 10 January 2008
I got this book for christmas as it was recommended by a history teacher I work with. I was careful to ask if I would need to be clear on my history to enjoy it but as an English Teacher up to A Level he assured me I would manage.
I have to admit to enjoying parts but also being bogged down in names and dates of other unconnected nobles that just confused me and 'blinded me with science' in others. While some chapters flew by, I found myself slogging through other, not really sure of how it connected or who these other 4th cousins from other marriages etc were or why I should need to know.
A great read for a history fan or a historian who knows their stuff I think rather than a bedside book.
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on 25 February 2002
Most people do not realise that for the entire length of Henry VIIIs "Great Matter" the king had a natural son, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset.
This book investigates the life of this littleknown tudor prince, describing his background and upbringing. His relationships with the great tudor court personalities are also described, as are his links to the Howard family.
There is also a usefull geneology of his maternal family line.
A great biography of a prince who could have become Henry IX.
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