Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Question from Mary Ann - Possible 8th child of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York

This is a question that I have had for many years that I have not been able to clear up. It all started when I read the Agnes Strickland Lives of the Queens of England volume series through an interlibrary loan.

I seem to remember Ms. Strickland mentioning that Elizabeth of York and King Henry VII had another child that died at birth or soon after and that child's name was George, making a total of eight children between Henry VII and Elizabeth. However, I cannot find any other sources to confirm this. I had simply given up ever finding any other sources to confirm this or refute it so I had kind of forgotten about it.

Recently, this all came back to me as I was reading the Plantagenet Somerset Fry book Lives of the Kings and Queens of England and Scotland and I seem to remember it mentioned that some sources state that Henry VII and Elizabeth of York had a son named Edward that appears in some of the correspondence of the period, but the author was not sure if this was another son, or a variant of the name Edmund, the boy that died at about 18 months old.

Any information that anyone has to confirm or refute this would be greatly appreciated. I would also like to know the sources you have that can verify it as well.



Foose said...

Among contemporary historians of the period, the reference appears only in Holinshed's Chronicles: "The foure and twentith of Februarie in this fifteenth yeare of this kings reigne his third son was christened and was named Edward."

Most historians who embrace the existence of Edward identify his birth year as 1500, 15 years after Bosworth. The difficulty is that Holinshed identifies him as the third son and omits entirely the existence of Edmund Tudor, indisputably the third son and comparatively well-documented in his existence.

Edmund was born February 21, 1499 (although I found one 17th-century historian who said 1487). If Edward is a mistake for Edmund, you can see how it happened - the similarity of the names and dates, and possible confusion over calculating regnal years.

On the other hand, although Henry VII and Elizabeth generally observed a greater spacing between their children, there is one other similar set of births spaced only 1 year apart: Henry VIII, born June 28 1491, and his sister Elizbeth, born July 2 1492. So it's possible.

Some reputable modern historians assign eight births to Elizabeth of York - G.W. Bernard and Susan Doran among them - but many go with the count of seven. I suppose it can't be finally resolved until the Tudor tombs are opened up and the bones counted.

I tend to be skeptical - the lack of other contemporary sources acknowledging the child's existence seems a bit suspicious, plus the similarity of names, plus Henry VII's apparent uneasiness in dredging up Yorkist references in his progency's naming. "George" seems definitely a stretch - there are no Georges in the Tudor or Beaufort lines, and Elizabeth of York's Uncle George was remembered as a bad 'un. Possibly if Margaret Pole was chosen as godmother, the name might have cropped up - but I doubt she'd have the temerity or standing, in 1500, to suggest it.

Denise said...

This painting has all Henry VII's children, even the ones who did not survive infancy. It only shows 3 boys (Arthur, Henry & Edmund), yet it has all 4 girls which includes Catherine who was the last-born (after Edward's supposed birth date). It is supposed to be contemporary (1503-9).

It seems if there was a prince Edward he would be included in here.

Unknown said...

Hi a reason you can not find it by reserching is ,that children born ,who may have died in infancy were not added to the censes as living people.This might be why you have not found him.