Living Descendants of King Henry the Eighth

I subscribe to a service called “SiteMeter” which allows me to see a limited amount of information about my visitors. One thing that I can see is if someone finds my site via a Google search. Recently, I’ve had a number of hits from people looking to find out about living descendants of King Henry VIII. My site isn’t really about that, but I thought I’d provide an answer anyway, as a public service.

There are no living descendants of King Henry VIII.

Henry’s father, King Henry VII, had four offspring who lived past childhood: Arthur, Margaret, Henry, and Mary. Arthur was always expected to be the next king, but he died in 1502. When Henry VII died in 1509, the kingdom was passed to his younger son, crowned Henry VIII.

Henry VIII had four known living offspring from four different women. His first wife, Catherine of Arragon, gave him a daughter, Mary (born 1516). He had an illegitimate son, Henry FitzRoy (born 1519), with his mistress Elizabeth Blount. His second wife, Ann Boleyn, had a daughter Elizabeth (born 1533). His third wife, Jane Seymour, had a son, Edward (born 1537). Henry VIII would have three more wives, but no more children to carry on his line. And as we shall see, none of his four branches would bear fruit.

Henry FitzRoy died in 1536, while his father was still alive.

When Henry VIII died in 1547, young Edward became King Edward VI, but died in 1553 with no heir. He was 15 years old. That was the end of Henry’s Y chromosome. But what about the daughters?

There was a brief reign by Lady Jane Grey (not a descendant of Henry VIII, but a granddaughter of his sister Mary) and then Henry VIII’s daughter Mary took the throne as Queen Mary I of England. You may know her as Bloody Mary.

(Don’t confuse either Mary with Mary Queen of Scots, who was yet a third Mary. She is a descendant of Henry VIII’s sister Margaret. We’ll come back to her in a bit.)

Mary I of England died in 1558 with no offspring, leaving the country in the capable hands of her sister Elizabeth. During the 45-year-long reign of Queen Elizabeth I, we saw a new Golden Age which included the rise of Shakespeare and Sir Francis Bacon. But alas, we saw no heir. Elizabeth died in 1603, ending her father’s biological legacy forever.

The crown then passed to the son of Mary Queen of Scots, who was James VI of Scotland at the time. He became King James I of England. And Shakespeare quickly began work on Macbeth. Note that the British monarchy even today can be traced back to King Henry VII, the father of King Henry VIII.

But King Henry VIII himself has no known living descendants.

I hope this was helpful for at least some of you. For the rest of you, expect a new Conundrum tomorrow.

UPDATE: An anagram version of the answer!

167 Responses to “Living Descendants of King Henry the Eighth”

  1. MaryLouise Stathers Says:

    Sorry, further ….my greatest hope is for their DNA to be researched.

  2. MaryLouise Stathers Says:

    Further #2 … ‘Shakespeare’s’ autobiography, probably “Hamlet”. No kidding!

  3. Dr.L.D.Daniell Says:

    Hello to all, George Washingtons mother Mary Ball is my 4th grand mother. GWs ansestors were english kings . Ive looked it up , its quite interesting. Futhermore Princess Diana & Princess .Kate Midleton are also neases of GW. Please note, any more fun ???? info we would like to share with us , kindly contact Kingtuttut1923@gmail.com.

  4. Brenda Godbey Houston Says:

    Had My DNA I got reports I am related to King Henry down to My grandparents Ann Stafford and I have papers show from me to my dad on down to Prince Charles Duke of Cambridge, Please email me at b.houston86@yahoo.com

  5. lolo Says:

    Hey just putting it out there if anyone knows.inbreeding was popular iam adirect descendant from King Ferdinand illegitimate son (court approvedit)long story but he had a kid with luisa de Estrada any who queen Isabella and Fernando were cousins. Mary I of England blood run throughs me. Her half sister was Elizabeth I. I guess if anyone can do the connections and tell me what would Mary be for me? She had no kids. But yeah lol :)

  6. Catharine Greene McRae Says:

    Interesting site! I’m also a descendant of Catherine and Henry Carey through BathshebaGriffith and John Ferguson of Calvert Co Md . Catheine Carey, Queen Elizabeth I favorite, made a fabulous marriage with Lord Frances Knolllys. Their daughter was Lettice Knollys who married Robert Dudley, Queen Elizabeth I’s favorite. The Queen was enraged. Robert’s stepson, Lettice’s son by first husband Walter Devereux was Robert, Earl of Essex, Queen Elizabeth I’s final favorite. He tried to take the thone, believing he was the descendant of Henry VIII. Why, unless his grandmother was the king’s daughter.
    In addition, the discovery of Richard III’S body has revealed his DNA DOES NOT match the present royals, so descent is not guarenteed.

  7. Bill Says:

    Welcome, Catharine!

    While I agree that descent is not guaranteed, the recent discoveries regarding Richard III do not actually cast any additional doubt on the legitimacy of the Queen.

    More here.

  8. Kelly S. Says:

    According to my research on ancestry.com, Henry Carey is my 11th great grandfather, and if the rumor is true about him being the King’s son, I am a living descendant of Henry the VIII in the U.S. in New York! Where’s my castle? Where’s my kingdom? :P

  9. Longshanks Says:

    Henry VIII would be awesome to have in my family tree but alas, I’m only stuck with King Edward I “Longshanks” through the Gloucester, Bourchier, Page, and Skipwith line. I bet a lot of us are still cousins tho. Hello cousins!

  10. Christo Says:

    Puzzled, my dad spent about $600.00 in the 1970’s to have our genealogical records complied. King Henry VIII was but one of the royal blood lines listed. True though, doesn’t mean I’m a ‘direct’ descendant.

    A big shout out to all my (potential) cousins out there! Cheers!

  11. kevin england Says:

    Mary Boleyn is the direct ancestor along my paternal grandmother’s line. The above lineage (one the first with the Wests, de la Warre, etc.) are instantly recognizable. QE2 and her progeny are cousins. Ironically, my mother bought me a dart board that closes and shows an image of Henry VIII. By the time I realized who it was, I had already become convinced that Henry VIII fathered Mary Boleyn’s 2 kids. Hillary Duff is also a descendant–currently considered the “most royal” actor in Hollywood.

  12. Kellie Scharringhausen Says:

    Hi everyone,
    I am a descendant of Mary Boleyn through Catherine Carey. Interestingly enough My great grandparents who lived in Pratt, Kansas their entire lives were Talbots. So I have Knolleys and Talbots in my family. My Talbot line has been traced to France & Spain. I have invested in DNA testing also, which confirmed the information passed down through my family.
    Hello to all of my fellow Tudor relatives ! :)

  13. Kriss Edwards Says:

    Richard Edwards was my 11th great grandfather.
    I just ran across this a few days ago.
    While as mentioned in previous posts, there is no physical evidence to confirm he was the son of Henry 8, the circumstantial evidence and custom of the time are quite intriguing.
    There is documented proof that Richard was educated at Oxford at the expense of Henry and received a stipend from Henry while he attended.
    Also at about the time of Richards birth Thomas Edwards was gifted by the crown a castle (Edwards Hall) and land in or near London.
    Guess I’ll be going to Buckingham Palace and tell those folks to get out of my house!

  14. Cheryl Says:

    According to my cousin, the family genealogist, we are direct descendents of Henry Carey as he was our 13th grandfather. There are many of us which is no surprise as he had many children. Because there is no way to know for sure who his father was, we can go no further in this part of our genealogy. However the research I have done indicates it’s a very good probability that Henry VIII was his father for many reasons that I won’t go into and it makes perfect sense why there was no acknowledgment. It’s interesting though…after all this time my nephew looks just like Henry Carey’s younger portrait. Just amazes me.

  15. Nancy Childress Says:

    My Royal Lineage:
    Mary had daughter Catherine Cary in 1524 (King Henry VIII’s child) Read “The Other Boleyn Girl”
    Catherine Carey m. Francis Knollys in 1540 and had daughter Anne Knollys in 1555
    Anne Knollys m. Thomas West in 1571 and had a son John West Sr. in 1590-1659 (Gov. VA- 1635 to 1637)
    John West Sr. m. Anne Percy and had 3,000 acres WHICH BECAME WEST POINT and had son John West Jr.
    Col. John West Jr. of West Point (1632-1689) and Ursula Unity West had son Thomas 1685.
    Thomas West, Sr. (1685-1714) and Agnes Frances West (Claiborne) had son Francis 1710.
    Francis West (1710-1786) m. married Mrs. Jane (Cole) Claiborne-Bingham 1733 and had son William West Sr. in 1735 or 1740..
    William West Sr. (1740-1815) m. Kezia (West) and had daughter Penelope West in TN (1756-1841)
    Penelope West m. Mitchell Porter in 1770’s and had a daughter Nancy C. Porter
    Nancy C. Porter (1799-d.1883) m. in 1830 to Rev. Ashley Wynne (1801-1866). Had TD Wynne (Thaddeus Datry or Dottery 1834-1905)
    TD m. Dialtha Malvina Seaton (1834-1915) TD and Dialtha had a daughter Julia Belle Wynne (1861-July 9, 1960-98 yrs. old)
    Julia m. Ashley Wynne Trotter (1848-1918). Had a daughter Lucille Trotter (1893-1982).
    Lucille m. Robert Childress (1886-1947). Had a son Robert Childress (1915-1983).
    Robert m. Nannette Hutchings (1918-1990). They had daughter Nancy Childress (me)

  16. Anonymous Says:

    Its so funny how so many people need to legitamize their exsistance and at that with royals. These royals were people who in short periods of times inbred, were murderers, had affairs, discard children like u would animals yet they are glorified.

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