Sunday, 10 February 2013

Bessie Blount

Elizabeth Blount was the daughter of Sir John Blount and Catherine Pershall. Sir John Blount was very loyal to the royal family and rather unremarkable but still accompanied the King to France in 1513. We do not know much of her early life except that she was rumoured to be beautiful.

Bessie (nick-name) served as a maid-of-honour to Catherine of Aragon. She soon caught the eye of the King and became his mistress in around 1514-1515. History remembers Bessie Blount mostly because of the son she gave birth to whose father was none other than Henry VIII. Henry Fitzroy was the only son of Henry VIII that he acknowledged despite the child's illegitimacy. But the son was soon created Duke of Richmond and Somerset and Earl of Nottingham - these titles clearly show how excited Henry was to have a living son even though it was not with his wife.

Strangely enough ended the affair after the birth for unknown reasons. The most obvious reason was that the King had fallen in love with Mary Boleyn and no longer had feelings for Bessie. Bessie married Gilbert Tailboys in an arranged marriage in 1522. After the marriage she was no longer a part of everyday-life at court.
Her son, Henry Fitzroy, died suddenly of tuberculosis and her husband died in 1530. As a widow she had decent means to pay for the three children that had come out of the marriage: Robert, George and Elizabeth. Bessie went on to marry Edward Fiennes between 1533-36 and she had three daughters with her second husband. Bessie was a lady-in-waiting to Anne of Cleves but had to retire due to her bad health.
She returned to her husband's estate where she died shortly after.  

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