They’ve claimed crowns, founded dynasties and shaped royal history but much of it has been done against the odds. For those born outside of royal marriage were often seen as also rans until they stormed the castles their parents called home.
For centuries, royal families have relied on legitimate heirs. In centuries past, when being born outside of wedlock was frowned on and led to shaming and shunning, a baby born on what was often called the wrong side of the blanket was of little use to ambitious rulers who wanted to cement their hold on power. The children themselves may well have been as loved and cherished as the offspring of a royal marriage but their prospects would always be different from those born after their parents said ‘I do’.
Not that that was enough to stop many of them. For a trawl through royal history shows that many of those born illegitimate went on to have just as much influence as the siblings born inside a marriage. This summer, Royal Central is looking at some of their stories as well as examining the role of their parents in changing royal history. From the most famous royal illegitimate of them all, William the Conqueror, to the tragic dukes who almost ruled when their fathers found themselves bereft of heirs, the next few weeks will see us bring you the stand out stories of royal history.
You can already read the first part of the new series where our senior reporter, Kristin Contino, tracks the fascinating tale of Henry Fitzroy, the teenager who might have been king.
Stay with Royal Central for a summer of scandal, sizzling stories and right royal romps.