Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Question from John - Henry VII's deathbed

Is it true that when Henry VII was about to die that he told his son Henry VIII that the most important thing he could do as king was to have a son to provide a male heir to the throne? A Masterpiece Theater production about Henry VIII on PBS show a scene where this happens, but I cannot find any documentation for it, if it really happened


  1. Sounds apocryphal to mean. And if the programme was the one with Ray Winstone, I wouldn't trust it as it's not entirely accurate.

  2. I agree with Liam; the story is probably apocryphal. A quick check of several academic biographies of both Henry VII and Henry VIII reveals that the son was present at the bedside when his father died, but the only dying utterances attributed to Henry VII have to do with personal religious concerns. It will be interesting to see how the Showtime Channel series "The Tudors" handles the issue when it premiers in April.

  3. If he did it would not have been surprising. The duty of Kings-aside from attending to the Country's needs-was to provide a male heir to do the same. If Henry VII said this, it was certainly not the first time Prince Henry heard it-and evidently not the last.

  4. I don't see why he would- after all, he did have two sons that survived to adulthood, no matter that Arthur died later. Also, if I recall correctly, Elizabeth of York did have a son or two that died after birth. I've seen the show you referenced, and I doubt that it actually happened. As Anonymous said, that mentality would have been drummed into Henry's head since he was a child.


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