Author Topic: Henry Fitzroy  (Read 18368 times)

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nelly

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Re: Henry Fitzroy
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2006, 04:46:37 PM »
I believe that Alison Wier mentions that the portrait was taken not very long before his death and that is why it was so informal.  Consumption carried him off--it seems like the Tudors were prone to it :(

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Re: Henry Fitzroy
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2006, 04:49:25 PM »
Yep, he was 17, and prior to his death there had been malicious rumours that Anne Boleyn wanted to poison him.
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bell_the_cat

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Re: Henry Fitzroy
« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2006, 02:38:08 AM »
Quote
I believe that Alison Wier mentions that the portrait was taken not very long before his death and that is why it was so informal.  Consumption carried him off--it seems like the Tudors were prone to it :(


However he was well enough to represent the king at Anne's execution on May 19 1536, about a month before his own death. I don't imagine he appeared in his pyjamas on that occasion.

So I disagree with the "very ill" explanation of the portrait. It gives his age as 15 - so the portrait was done in 1534-1535. I tend to think it was fashionable to have the portrait done in this way. Fitzroy had spent a bit of time at court in France - he was a bit of a hell-raiser apparently.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by bell_the_cat »

nelly

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Re: Henry Fitzroy
« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2006, 12:34:48 PM »
I believe it was noted that he looked ill at Anne's execution--

But you are correct in that his age is noted on that minature, so who knows why he appeared in his undershirt ???

Offline Kimberly

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Re: Henry Fitzroy
« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2006, 01:35:10 PM »
Well, he would have been in the grip of the disease that killed him and he was about to watch a woman lose her head...maybe thats why he looked ill ???
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Tsarina_Liz

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Re: Henry Fitzroy
« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2006, 08:50:45 PM »
Tuberculosis would have taken quite some time to finally kill Richmond, he may have been languishing for months or years.  The nightshirt picture may have been painted during a flare up.  

I don't think Henry every seriously considered putting his bastard on the throne.  Considering how much effort it took to secure the Tudor throne, I doubt he would have thought it acceptable to put a Richmond on it.  All that work to have the dynasty peter out and be tainted by illegitimacy would have been embarassing.  Also, if Richmond was recognized as heir wouldn't that have been seen as Henry admitting defeat and copping to the reality that he probably would never father a legitimate heir?  

The subject was raised during the reigns of three queens (Katherine to Jane) but it never went anywhere, even when things looked bleak and Elizabeth was born.  If Henry didn't do it then (and by then, Richmond was fatally ill), how much longer could he have procrastinated?

bell_the_cat

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Re: Henry Fitzroy
« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2006, 03:15:30 AM »
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Tuberculosis would have taken quite some time to finally kill Richmond, he may have been languishing for months or years.  The nightshirt picture may have been painted during a flare up.

 

People suffering from tuberculosis did not have themselves portrayed as invalids! If he had been suffering a flare up, as you say, and unable to button up his shirt (!), it would have been only too easy for the painter to paint on a suitable top.

Is it possible that this was the outfit men wore when playing tennis? That would explain the unusual hat (to protect the ears agains the hard balls).


Quote
I don't think Henry every seriously considered putting his bastard on the throne.  Considering how much effort it took to secure the Tudor throne, I doubt he would have thought it acceptable to put a Richmond on it.  All that work to have the dynasty peter out and be tainted by illegitimacy would have been embarassing.  Also, if Richmond was recognized as heir wouldn't that have been seen as Henry admitting defeat and copping to the reality that he probably would never father a legitimate heir?  

The subject was raised during the reigns of three queens (Katherine to Jane) but it never went anywhere, even when things looked bleak and Elizabeth was born.  If Henry didn't do it then (and by then, Richmond was fatally ill), how much longer could he have procrastinated?


The title alone "Duke of Richmond" shows that Henry at least considered the possibility - it had been Henry VII's title before he became king. Other titles given to Henry Fitzroy were Duke of Somerset and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland - at the time there were only a couple of other Dukes around.

bell_the_cat

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Re: Henry Fitzroy
« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2006, 05:25:13 AM »
On second thoughts it may have been wrestling like this:



This was called cornish wrestling where the opponents try to grab each other by the shirts. Henry VIII and Francois I famously had a go at each other at the field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520 (Francois won!). It was this form of wrestling that they used. I can well believe that Fitzroy took part in this sport, if his father had done.

It seems sensible to me to have the ears strapped down for this type of activity. Olympic wrestlers still wear ear protection.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by bell_the_cat »

Tsarina_Liz

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Re: Henry Fitzroy
« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2006, 09:15:34 AM »
Quote
 

People suffering from tuberculosis did not have themselves portrayed as invalids! If he had been suffering a flare up, as you say, and unable to button up his shirt (!), it would have been only too easy for the painter to paint on a suitable top.

Is it possible that this was the outfit men wore when playing tennis? That would explain the unusual hat (to protect the ears agains the hard balls).



The title alone "Duke of Richmond" shows that Henry at least considered the possibility - it had been Henry VII's title before he became king. Other titles given to Henry Fitzroy were Duke of Somerset and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland - at the time there were only a couple of other Dukes around.


The boy was known to be sick from the age of about thirteen on.  By the time this portrait was made,  it would be both realistic and appropriate to paint him in his nightshirt and embroidered nightcap.  Why bother making him look good when the world could tell that he was dying?  Also, this is a highly informal portrait (which were not popular at the time although later increased in popularity) which is why it may seem out of place in the grander Tudor pantheon of portraiture.  But the informality was certainly intentional.    

Giving his illegitimate son titles could have been a step towards making him the heir in the future (which he almost was before his untimely death).  But couldn't it also have been simply a way of making Richmond more eligible on the marriage market and therefore a tool for whatever foreign alliance Henry was leaning towards at the time?

bell_the_cat

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Re: Henry Fitzroy
« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2006, 10:06:03 AM »
Quote

The boy was known to be sick from the age of about thirteen on.  By the time this portrait was made,  it would be both realistic and appropriate to paint him in his nightshirt and embroidered nightcap.  Why bother making him look good when the world could tell that he was dying?  Also, this is a highly informal portrait (which were not popular at the time although later increased in popularity) which is why it may seem out of place in the grander Tudor pantheon of portraiture.  But the informality was certainly intentional.    

Giving his illegitimate son titles could have been a step towards making him the heir in the future (which he almost was before his untimely death).  But couldn't it also have been simply a way of making Richmond more eligible on the marriage market and therefore a tool for whatever foreign alliance Henry was leaning towards at the time?



The portrait was done in the year that Fitzroy married Lady Mary Howard, daughter of the Duke of Norfolk. Are you saying that the portrait was deliberately done to announce to the world that she wouldn't have to put up with him long? It is surely much more likely that he and Henry would have wanted to present the image of a fit young lad.

Because of the income from his estates, Richmond was also the second richest man in England after Henry (though don't ask me to prove this) - he was very rich! His home, Collyweston in Lincolnshire, was a palatial affair that had been built for Lady Margaret Beaufort. Here's a link to a (to me) convincing account of Fitzroy's life - he was not an invalid until the last few weeks of his life.

http://homepages.enterprise.net/rogerp/blount.html
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by bell_the_cat »

Offline Romanov_fan

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Re: Henry Fitzroy
« Reply #25 on: March 17, 2006, 11:26:51 AM »
The reasons for the informal portrait more likely have little to do with his early death, since people could become ill, and sicken rapidly back then. Also, it would not do to annouce to the world he was feeble and would not last long; that was almost never done at all. It was more likely to announce he was a fit young lad, as someone else said, or for other equally valid reasons. It would have been easy for the portait painter to paint his portrait in the customary clothes, even if he was wearing informal clothing when this was painted.

As for succession issues, he was practically heir for awhile, and so were some others. It is unlikely Henry would ever have had him succeed at all, because he was illigetimate, and Henry wanted to hold out hope of a  legetimate male heir. He didn't want to give up, or have to be in a embarrassing position if he made Henry the heir, then a legetimate son showed up.  But in a last resort, he might have made him heir. He had flounted convention before, to achieve his ends with the succession. So why not again? As for titles, it was most likely to enable him make a good match, or because he was his only illegetimate acknowledged son, I believe. It might have had overtones of preparing for the succession, but only overtones, that's all.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by romanov_fan »

Tsarina_Liz

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Re: Henry Fitzroy
« Reply #26 on: March 18, 2006, 12:38:31 PM »
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The portrait was done in the year that Fitzroy married Lady Mary Howard, daughter of the Duke of Norfolk. Are you saying that the portrait was deliberately done to announce to the world that she wouldn't have to put up with him long? It is surely much more likely that he and Henry would have wanted to present the image of a fit young lad.


The boy was the king's only son, his condition would have been closely monitored by courtiers so there is no way the court was unaware of the condition of the boy or the fact that he was dying.  Also, Richmond and his wife (or their keepers) were instructed to postpone consuming the marriage.  While the couple were not old, they were not young either (Richmond was something like 14).  The marriage was favorable, so there was no need to postpone consumation in case of annullment.  But remember, Prince Arthur had been a sickly young lad.  No doubt Henry and many courtiers believed sexual activity helped hasten his early demise.  

Finally, if Henry had wanted the boy portrayed as a healthy young lad (possibly to counteract the threat of civil war over lack of an heir or deny his illness) why was this portrait even painted or once painted allowed to exist?  Why is Fitzroy in his nighshirt and night cap if he is to be portrayed healthy and active?  Henry was a master of propoganda through art and was well aware the power paintings had in the political arena.  He was no fool and would have seen this portrait for what it was - a painting of his dying son.  And yet there is no record of an order for the painting to be destroyed or for the artists to be punished.  The reality was the boy was dying and everyone knew it.  Any attempts to counteract this would have been futile.  At least with this portrait, they were getting a realistic portrait of Richmond and something to remember him by.    

bell_the_cat

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Re: Henry Fitzroy
« Reply #27 on: March 18, 2006, 12:46:11 PM »
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Finally, if Henry had wanted the boy portrayed as a healthy young lad (possibly to counteract the threat of civil war over lack of an heir or deny his illness) why was this portrait even painted or once painted allowed to exist?  Why is Fitzroy in his nighshirt and night cap if he is to be portrayed healthy and active?   



Because he is not wearing a nightshirt and nightcap* - he is dressed for sport. Fitzroy was not an invalid until the last few weeks of his life.

You are saying that Fitzroy was bedridden  for the last two years of his life, and that his father (for some reason that you cannot explain) wanted it to be known about.  :-/

* Why would a nightcap cover the ears?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by bell_the_cat »

Tsarina_Liz

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Re: Henry Fitzroy
« Reply #28 on: March 18, 2006, 03:25:51 PM »
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Because he is not wearing a nightshirt and nightcap* - he is dressed for sport. Fitzroy was not an invalid until the last few weeks of his life.

You are saying that Fitzroy was bedridden  for the last two years of his life, and that his father (for some reason that you cannot explain) wanted it to be known about.  :-/

* Why would a nightcap cover the ears?


That is a nightshirt and cap set!  I have never seen it described as anything else.  The description attached to the picture on the Royal Collection site calls says: "The sitter is vividly characterised in what is in essence an informal portrait, one of the first in British art. The casual clothes, probably a nightcap and chemise, may be associated with his physical frailty." Tudor bedclothes were as sumptuos as those worn in the day time, hence the elaborate embroidery on the bonnet.  Anything for sport, while decorated, would not have been nearly as detailed or wrought.
 
I never said he was bedridden, only that he was dying.  Tuberculosis would have drained the life out of his slowly, from time to time though he would have been bedridden especially as his life came to a close.  He would have been functioning for a while, but soon he would have been weak and constantly coughing.  He would probably have been susceptible to other viruses, further weakening his syetem.  There's a reason why people feared tuberculosis - it was a lingering, painful and ugly death.

Are you honestly telling me that no one would have known that?!  In the Court of Henry VIII there was no privacy, no secrets.  Every knew the business of the royal family.  They would have known about Richmond's condition!  Especially those with spies in his household who were gunning for Mary or Elizabeth inheriting the throne.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Tsarina_Liz »

nelly

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Re: Henry Fitzroy
« Reply #29 on: March 18, 2006, 05:33:22 PM »
If I recall correctly, it took his half brother Edward, around two years to waste away.  Henry Fitzroy could easily have been showing early symptoms when this portrait was done.  
Considering his family history, the court would have known exactly what his condition was :(
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by nelly »