On the 22nd July 1536 Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset, died at St James’s Palace. He was the illegitimate son of Henry VIII and Elizabeth ‘Bessie’ Blount and was just seventeen years old when he died.
There is some debate about whether he died on the 22nd or 23rd, as Eustace Chapuys recorded on the 23rd that:
‘I have just this moment heard that the duke of Richmond died this morning; not a bad thing for the interests of the Princess.’
The Princess that he is referring to is the Princess Mary. He does not go into detail about Fitzroy’s death but then again he was interested more in Mary’s welfare. His death was a good thing for Mary as it meant that people couldn’t dispute her claim to the throne (all Henry VIII had at that point was illegitimate children).
Even though Chapuys records that Fitzroy died on the 23rd, he is the only one to do so. The chronicler Charles Wriothesley writes that his death was on the 22nd and chronicler Raphael Hollinshed agrees.
Before his death, Fitzroy was reported ill with consumption in early July. Although the chronicler Charles Wriothesley records that he became sickly some time before he died, this is disproven by his public appearances. Fitzroy even attended Anne Boleyn’s execution on 19th May 1536. He probably did die of consumption (tuberculosis).
Norfolk arranged for Fitzroy to be buried at Thetford Priory in Norfolk. His remains were later moved to St Michael’s Church in Framlingham, Suffolk, due to the dissolution of the priory.
LP XI, 148
The Death of Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset, at St James’s Palace – The Anne Boleyn Files
A picture of Henry Fitzroy (possibly Edward VI)