Did Henry VIII Tudor Have a Son Richard Edwards?

+11 votes

Rumor had it that Agnes Blewitt was a mistress of Henry VIII and had a son Richard by him.  I can find no proof, just rumor.  FMG does not even show Agens as a mistress,http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/ENGLAND,%20Kings%201066-1603.htm#HenryVIIIdied1547B  and the fairly recent book by Kelly Hart, The Mistresses of Henry VIII (2009): says that it is unlikely.

Is there any evidence that Agnes was a mistress of Henry VIII?

IF YES, is there any evidence the Richard Edwards was a son on that liason?

IF NO, shouldn't we disconnect Henry VIII are as the father of Richard Edwards, and put in a Disputed Origins section?

This question also came up a couple of years ago: http://www.wikitree.com/g2g/3380/did-agnes-blewitt-marry-henry-viii

WikiTree profile: Richard Edwardes
in Genealogy Help by Vic Watt G2G6 Pilot (331k points)
edited by Vic Watt
I have also come up with the same. I have it that Agnes was Henry III mistress and Agnes husband (one of my great grandfathers raised him as his own as well as gave him the Edwardes name). I too am still looking into this.



Gwen Edwards

3 Answers

+4 votes
Best answer
Henry had two sons, one by a mistress, Henry Fitzroy who was made Duke of Richmond and Somerset during the time that Catherine of Aragon was still living. And he had a legitimate son, Edward by Jane Seymour who was his 3rd wife, she died shortly after giving birth and Edward lived to by 16.
by Teresa Langford G2G6 (7.7k points)
selected by Valerie Willis
Did Queen Elizabeth ever grants permission to exume Henry VIII's remains for DNA testing? I don't recall hearing about any results. One would think this would be a story picked up by mainstream media.

Just ran across this today and thought it a value-add to the discussion.   www.shakespeareteacher.com/blog/archives/322
+6 votes
I think the rule on Wikitree is that where there is doubt we do as you have suggested Vic and disconnect from Henry VIII as father and put something in the biography about disputed origins.

It would also be interesting to discover where the 'Rev Sir' originated.  According to his biography in Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Edwardes (not always reliable I know) there is no evidence he was knighted or ordained?

Perhaps there is more than his parentage that could be disputed?
by John Atkinson G2G6 Pilot (491k points)
I see this was never done. Going in.
Thanks, Jillaine. I asked the question and was waiting a reasonable length of time to take action. Then I left for a month and totally forgot. Appreciating you fixing it.
Henry had a son by a mistress.  His name is Henry Fitzroy and the king made him the Duke of Richmond and Somerset.  The only wife to give him a son was Jane Seymore whom he married after Ann's beheading.  She have birth to Edward who only lived to be 16, but he King had died by then.
+1 vote
Henry VIII had no sons. He had a daughter, Mary, with his wife Catherine of Aragon. Because he could not produce a male heir with her he petitioned for a finding of nullity in a investigation of his marriage. The Catholic Church found that his marriage was valid so he named himself head of the chuch of England, gave himself what he wanted and disposed of Catherine and Mary. Subsequently, he had daughter Elizabeth. He had already authorized himself as head of the church as well as head of state so Elizabeth was considered legitimate - at least by anyone who wanted to keep his head growing right where it stood. Elizabeth was crowned heir to the throne. Everything else regarding his issue is fiction until and unless proof positive is provided by the monger of the rumor..
by Michele Camera G2G6 Mach 1 (10.4k points)
I believe that anyone who takes the time to do the research could hardly dispute the fact that Henry VIII was the father of Henry Carey, and this change should be made on Henry Carey's profile.
The rumor that Henry VIII fathered Mary Boleyn Carey's children has been around for quiteca long time. Still there is no definitive proof that he had an affair with his mistress' sister much less that he shared his DNA with either of her children. Perhaps, in the future, new advances in technology and a few exhumations will provide the genetic smoking gun to lay the question to rest. As of now, historians accept that Henry Carey's parents are Mary Boleyn and William Carey.
Actually, historians do not accept the fact that William was Henry's father.  They cannot say for sure.  And why was his name Henry?  According to Wikipedia, Mary was a mistress of Henry VIII from a period of roughly 1521 to 1526.  Henry Carey was born March 4, 1526. That alone should be sufficient. There is a significant amount of additional evidence.
Provide either scientific evidence that these two share a parental DNA relationship or academically reviewed and accepted proof that there is a preponderance of evidence suggesting this parental link.
There was a very good and well-researched article by Tony Hoskins, "Mary Boleyn’s Carey Children: Offspring of King Henry VIII?” _The Genealogists’
Magazine_ (London), Vol. 25 (March 1997)  that was well received by historians and genealogists alike.

From memory, it was based on dates, and extensive grants to William Carey (I think) that had to pass to his children with Mary Boleyn.  Queen Elizabeth I also I think gave them lands and position at court and built both Henry and his sister Katherine magnificent tombs in Westminster Abbey.  I think this was seen as Elizabeth knowing that they were her half-sister and brother, but the fact that they were first cousins and cousins who had no claim on her throne, may have been reason enough.

Although there have been a few other articles since Tony Hoskins, that Henry VIII was their father will never be proved conclusively (unless there is eventually some DNA evidence), and I'm inclined to retain William Carey as their father on Wikitree, with a note in their biographies pointing out Henry VIII may have been their father.

I think the point that Henry Carey is named Henry, isn't a strong argument; Henry was a common name in England and with a powerful king like Henry VIII you are probably going to want to flatter him anyway you can.
Thank you John Atkinson! I am excited to read this article. I have done a lot of research on Mary Boleyn, but sadly there was less than I had hoped. Many thanks.
Pleased read the article by Tony Hoskins.  Henry Carey and his sister Catherine were most likely the children of Henry VIII.  I recently found a Wikipedia article while researching the Palmes Family, which traces to Catherine Carey and states "who is generally believed to have been the child of Henry VIII" (Wikipedia: Palmes Family).  This was also the opinion of Leo van de Pas (profiles of Catherine Carey and Henry Carey). We should disregard the opinions of historians whose conclusions have been drawn without the benefit of recently publicized facts and were formed decades or even centuries ago.  Absent DNA evidence, we will rarely have indisputable evidence of the paternity or maternity of those who lived centuries ago. We should conclude from the evidence we now have available and make corrections accordingly.
It is very simple.

In 2011, bioarchaeologist Catrina Banks Whitley and anthropologist Kyra Kramer requested permission of Queen Elizabeth II to exhume the body of Henry VIII to test for a rare genetic disease - Kell's antigen syndrome - which would explain both the low survival rate of the 14 pregnancies he supposedly sired as well as explain his erratic behavior in mid-life. Right now, he is generally considered to be a syphilitically insane and blood-thirsty monster who murdered wives at will and broke the entire country from the Catholic Church.  One might think that the monarchy would be open to correcting this impression with evidence that the man suffered from a rare medical condition that was unknown and untreatable during his life instead of the current, less savory explanation.

Then the question is: does Henry VIII carry the Kell positive gene in its dominant form? If he does, then that is the reason the majority of his children did not live and a likely reason for his later insanity.

Then, you could exhume the bodies of Henry Carey and his sister Catherine. Either they each carry the Kell antigen gene in its recessive form meaning that they could be Henry's children - in which case the arguments for the lineage are greatly bolstered - or they don't carry the gene in which case there is no possible way Henry could have sired them and that is the end of the story. All the genealogic theories in the world matter not at all if they don't share that gene.

It really is that easy to get a definitive answer. Does the monarchy want that definitive answer? Does it want to clear Henry's name?

My question(s) stands. Does anyone know the outcome of the request for Henry's exhumation? Was the research completed? If so, was it publically published? Why or why not?

Not an expert but didn't think it would be that simple.

I have spent some time looking at a blog on Religion and the law. From what I found,  I think that even if the Queen wanted to exhume Henry , it wouldn't be her that made the final decision though she presumably be the one to make the request (and  because the grave also contains Jane Seymour's remains, a separate request would also have to be made.)  She would need a licence from the Minister of Justice and also a faculty from the Church of England. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/326818/application-exhumation-licence.pdf

To get the faculty, would be a matter for the Anglican ecclesiastical courts.  Royalty has been exhumed, so Queen Marie of  Yugoslavia was exhumed from Frogmore to be reburied in Serbia ie from one consecrated grave to another where her family would have wished her to have been buried but politics didn't allow.


These permissions are very much the exception. The Arches Court (ie the Court for Canterbury )  has ruled in an appeal case

The disturbance of remains which have been placed at rest in consecrated land has only been allowed as an exception to the general presumption of permanence arising from the initial act of interment” [Blagdon at [20


Interestingly the  law in England   differs for non Anglican burial grounds as they don't come under the  same authority of the ecclesiastical courts. (so although Anglican and RC beliefs on the permanence of burial are similar the burials of the latter don't have the same protection.) The author of the blog discusses the difference here and points out that the ecclesiastical courts refused the exhumation of the presumed bones of Harold 11 for identification with  DNA analysis.



Has no sons?  Huh. Edward wasn't a son?

His children with women he married were Mary, Elizabeth and Edward.

Their Mothers were Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, and Jane Seymour, who died in childbirth... of Edward.

I always wondered why he didn't adopt Henry Fitzhugh and make him heir. Would have saved some ladies their heads. And the being divorced.

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