Fitzroy, Henry, Duke of Richmond 1519-1536, was the son of Henry VIII and Elizabeth Blount, a lady in waiting on Queen Catherine of Arragon, daughter of John Blount, esq., who, according to Wood, came from Knevet in Shropshire, perhaps Kinlet, an old seat of the Blount family. His mother afterwards married Gilbert, son of Sir George Talboys of Goltho, Lincolnshire, and certain manors in that county and Yorkshire were assigned to her for life by act of parliament.
At the age of six, on 7 June 1525, he was made knight of the Garter, in which order he was subsequently promoted to the lieutenancy (17 May 1533). A few days after his installation he was created Earl of Nottingham and Duke of Richmond and Somerset, with precedence over all dukes except the king's lawful issue. The ceremony, which took place at Bridewell on 18 June 1525, is minutely described in an heraldic manuscript quoted in the Calendar of State Papers of Henry VIII. On the same day he was appointed the king's lieutenant-general north of Trent, and keeper of the city and castle of Carlisle. The following month (16 July) he received a patent as lord high admiral of England, Wales, Ireland, Normandy, Gascony, and Aquitaine, and on the 22nd a further commission as warden-general of the marches of Scotland. He was also receiver of Middleham and Sheriff Hutton, Yorkshire. Lands and income were at the same time granted to him amounting to over 4,000l. in yearly value. Other offices bestowed on him were the lord-lieutenantship of Ireland in June 1529, and the constableship of Dover Castle, with the wardenry of the Cinque ports, about two months before his death. It was commonly reported that the king intended to make him king of Ireland, and perhaps his successor, for which these high offices were meant to be a preparation. Shortly after his creation he travelled north, and resided for some time at Sheriff Hutton and Pontefract, where his council transacted all the business of the borders. His education was entrusted to Richard Croke [qv.], one of the most famous of the pioneers of Greek scholarship in England, and to John Palsgrave, author of Lesclarcissement de la langue Francoyse, the earliest English grammar of the French language. Both his tutors took great pains with his education, in spite of the hindrance of those of his household who preferred to see him more proficient in horsemanship and hunting than in literature. When ten years old he had already read some Cæsar, Virgil, and Terence, and knew a little Greek. Croke appears to have been much attached to him, and when in Italy, after leaving his service, writes offering to send him models of a Roman military bridge and of a galley. Singing and playing on the virginals were included in his education. Various matrimonial alliances were proposed for him, some perhaps merely as a move in the game of politics. Within the short space of a year there was some talk of his marrying a niece of Pope Clement VII, a Danish princess, a French princess, and a daughter of Eleanor, queen dowager of Portugal, sister of Charles V, who afterwards became queen of France; but he eventually married (25 Nov. 1533) Mary [see Fitzroy, Mary], daughter of Thomas Howard, third duke of Norfolk, by his second wife, and sister of his friend Henry, earl of Surrey, who commemorated their friendship in his poems.
In the spring of 1532 he came south, residing for a time at Hatfield, and in the autumn accompanied his father to Calais, to be present at his interview with Francis I. Thence he went on to Paris with his friend the Earl of Surrey, and remained there till September 1533. On his return he was married, and it was intended he should go to Ireland shortly after; but this intention was not carried out, perhaps owing to the state of his health, and he remained with the court. He is mentioned as being present at the execution of the Carthusians in May 1535, and at that of Anne Boleyn in May 1536. On 22 July the same year he died in the kinges place in St. James, not without suspicion of being poisoned by the late queen and her brother, Lord Rochford. He was buried in the Cluniac priory of Thetford, but at the dissolution his body and tomb, together with that of his father-in-law, the Duke of Norfolk, were removed to St. Michael's Church, Framlingham, Suffolk. The tomb now stands on the north of the altar. It is of freestone, garnished round with divers histories of the Bible, and on the top were twelve figures, each supporting a trophy of the Passion, but all of them are miserably defaced. His arms in the Garter, with a ducal coronet over them, are still perfect. A miniature portrait of the young duke was formerly in the Strawberry Hill collection, and was engraved by Harding. There is a sketch of it in Doyle's Baronage, and also a facsimile of his signature from one of his letters, preserved among the public records.
Cal. State Papers Hen. VIII, vols. iv-viii.
Grafton's Chronicle, pp. 382, 443
Wriothesley's Chronicle, i. 41, 45, 53, 54
Chronicle of Calais, pp. 41, 44, 164
Friedmann's Anne Boleyn, ii. 176, 286-7, 294
Doyle's Official Baronage, iii. 120
Blomefield's Norfolk, ii. 125
Statute 14 Hen. VIII c. 34, 22 Hen. VIII c. 17, 23 Hen. VIII c. 28, 25 Hen. VIII c. 30, 26 Hen. VIII c. 21, 27 Hen. VIII c. 51, 28 Hen. VIII c. 34
Nott's Life of Surrey, p. xxviii
Green's Guide to Framlingham, 1878, p. 16
Dodd's Church Hist. i. 167.
Contributor: C. T. M. [Charles Trice Martin]