Two weeks ago, I shared the 1527 letter that Henry FitzRoy sent to thank Henry VIII for his Christmas (actually New Year’s) gift. Today, I am sharing the one that the young Duke penned only one year later.
He obviously worked very hard. Gone is the childish scrawl, the uneven lines. The eight year old FitzRoy had mastered italic script (though I’m told that if you look closely at the original, you can still make out the faint parallel guidelines he had drawn for the height of his letters) and had expanded his vocabulary (subject of course to the spelling liberalities of the day).
My favorite part of this letter: the self-confidence this boy exhibits. Presumably following just a couple of weeks after a thank you for his seasonal present, he’s asking for something new: a harness. At the time this letter was written, Henry had not yet started divorce proceedings. I still wonder whether Henry FitzRoy believed at this point that he might wiggle into the succession…and was perhaps preparing for the same.
In most humble and loyal wise, I beseech your highness of your daily blessing. In like wise, praying the same to be advertised that I effectually give mine whole endeavor, mind, study and pleasure, to the diligent appliance of all such sciences and feats of learning as by my most loving counsellors I am daily advertised to stand with your most high and gracious pleasure. Therefore making most humble and loyal intercession unto the same to remember me, your most humble and loyal servant, with an harness for my exercise in armys according to my learning in Julius Cesar. Trusting in God as speedily and profitably to prosper in the same as your Grace shall perceive that I have done in all mine other learning. Whereof my right trusty and full entirely well beloved Mr. Magnus, director of my counsel, can make credible report. And thus the most glorious trinity have you my most [drad] and sovereign lord in this most gracious tuition. At your Castle of Pontefract the last day of January. Your most loyal servant,
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