Monday, October 19, 2015

Question from Harietta - Succession if Henry VIII had a younger brother who lived to adulthood

If Henry VIII had had a younger brother who survived (such as Edmund, Duke of Somerset, who died at 15 months in 1500), would that have lessened the pressure on him to produce a male heir somewhat, since he could rely on a niece or nephew, or would only a son of his own body have provided the security that the Tudor line needed? If he had died without leaving any male heir behind, who would have become Queen (or King)? Mary, Elizabeth, Jane, or another niece or nephew?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There would have been less pressure in one way, but it would have made a more complicated situation with potential pitfalls. If his younger brother had children, especially sons, approaching adulthood, he would have had a great deal of power and influence and loyalties would have been somewhat divided as people began to court the king-to-be. The heir would have been Henry's brother, rather than Henry's nephews or nieces, so already a powerful adult ready to step into Henry's place, just as King William Rufus had a younger brother as heir, and then met his death in a mysterious hunting accident. For Henry's personal security, he needed a male heir.

If Henry had died without Edward being born, it would have depended on which year it happened as to who may have succeeded. Mary would have been the most likely choice, but others may have fought for it. The King of Scotland was Henry's nephew and nearest male heir. His foreignness would probably have encouraged the people to accept a woman for the first time though.