Sunday, May 10, 2009

Question from Elizabeth M - Assassination of Henry's uncle/ambassador from "The Tudors"

I was wondering about something that was portrayed in the first episode of season I of The Tudors. The murder of Henry's "uncle," the ambassador to Urbino murdered by the French. I know the historical facts are not accurate in this series, but I am wondering if this incident was based on a real life incident?

[Ed. note - The question of who the uncle was came up a while back, but the question about the assassination of an ambassador hasn't been addressed that I know of. In the previous thread it seems that none of the real potential candidates for the "uncle" were murdered, but was there perhaps a real assassination that was rolled into this character?]

Previous thread: http://tudorhistory.org/queryblog/2007/10/question-from-heather-henry-viiis-uncle.html

9 comments:

Bearded Lady said...

I would say that they took the character of William Courtenay and handed him the fate of Oddantonio da Montefeltro. Oddantonio was murdered in the Ducal Palace in a similar Brutus like manner...except a century before Henry VIII. It was a very strange scene to include.

blert said...

Henry VIII had no uncle. This episode is completely fictional. Edmund Tudor died when Margaret Beaufort was 7 months pregnant. She was only 13 years old at the time, and difficulties during the birth of Henry Tudor, who would become Henry VII, left her infertile. Despite Margaret Beaufort's two subsequent marriages, Henry Tudor had no siblings whatsoever, which means that Henry VIII had no uncles.

A murder in Italy is a much simpler start to the series, and gives an easy pretext and justification for war. The actual politics of the League of Westminster are slightly more complex, and they would show Henry VIII to be a much more conniving, expansionist king instead of a ruler merely reacting to a murder. Henry VIII wanted to expand his holdings in northern France, to regain English lands claimed in the times of Edward III and Henry V, but lost in the Hundred Years War. Henry used the opportunity of conflict among France, the Papal States, and the Venetian Republic to join with Spain and the Hapsburgs to beat back France.

rainboewcoaster said...

I can't work out who the alleged uncle (the one who was murdered in Urbino) was. Henry's father, Henry VII, was an only child. Henry VIII had three legitimate uncles, all of whom died before reaching their teens and before Henry was born. They were the brothers of his mother, Elizabeth of York; Edward V, who was unmarried and last seen alive in July 1483 when he was not quite 13; Richard, Duke of York, who was married as a child and last seen alive in July 1483, aged almost 10, and George, who died aged 2 in 1479.

I found an illegitimate half-brother of Elizabeth of York; Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle, who lived until 1542, but it can't have been he, because the murder happened long before 1542. In 1542 Henry was 51 and had just had his fifth wife executed, whereas when he invaded France he was still married to his first wife (who acted as regent while he was away and defeated the Scots invasion at Flodden, so the murder must have happened before 1513).

I suppose it could have been an uncle-in-law. Elizabeth of York had six sisters, three of whom married. The only ones who would fit are Thomas Kyme, second husband of Elizabeth's sister Cecilia (no dates given for him and he is unlikely as nothing much seems to be known about him) and William Courtenay, Earl of Devon, who was married to Elizabeth's sister Katherine and who died in 1511. He looks the likeliest candidate.

Pamela Wagner said...

William Courtenay, Earl of Devon, who was married to Elizabeth's sister Catherine jousted in a full tournament on 10 May 1511, died a month later of pleurisy on 9 June 1511, and was buried at Blackfriars Abbey in London. He was not murdered in Urbino.

Lisa Webster said...

Henrys mother had an illigitamate brother named arther plantagent.

Char said...

Henry's mother also had an older half brother that was living at the time -- Thomas Grey Marquis of Dorset. His other half-Uncle was Richard Grey who was murdered along with his uncle (Henry's great-uncle) Antony Woodville, Earl Rivers. Henry had numerous great-uncles on the Woodville side as well as his husband's of his mother's sisters, and her illegitimate half brother Arthus PLantagenet, Lord Lisle. And of course, there is his great uncle Jasper Tudor.

Anonymous said...

Henry had a great-uncle, Sir Richard Wingfield, who was a prominent diplomat and ambassador. He was the third husband of his great-aunt, Katherine Woodville and died in Toledo in 1525 of an illness. He is pretty much the only figure I could think of who could even possibly suit....

Viktor314 said...

It is quite disturbing that this "hisorical" show begins with such an unhistorical fact which shows french as murderer.. Frogive my English i am only a bloody french asshole..

Tonja Hayes said...

He would have the uncles that were in the towers or if they included Elizabeth woodvilles older son that survived