Every family has secrets. One thing I love so much about genealogy is that it allows you to uncover those secrets and discover more mystery. It has always been about the story for me. I want to know more about my ancestors so that I can uncover their stories–and in the end–my story.
As you know, I have been researching my family for a number of years. In Part I, I let you in on a little secret about my 9th great grandfather, Roger Williams who founded Providence Rhode Island. In Part II, I spoke to you about my Jewish ancestry. Now, in Part III of “The Shocking Truth About My Family”, I’m finally discussing something that floored me beyond belief.
My family is descended directly from royalty–on more than one side–but today I’ll be talking about a couple of specific people you may have heard about.
I worked my way back on Roger Williams’ line, and primarily what I found were just generic English surnames like Williams and Bernard. But I kept working back, and finally I saw a name that made my heart stop–“Tudor”–Wait. Like, Tudor dynasty Tudor? Surely there are a lot of English Tudors. Right?
At this point, I was scrambling to get as much information as quickly as possible. I needed to prove my gut wrong. But as I checked and crossed checked, it only solidified the truth. My family is from a direct royal Tudor line.
It all stems from Roger Williams’ paternal line. His 6th great grandfather (my 15th) was married to Joan Tudor. But who is Joan Tudor?
Joan is the illegitimate daughter of Sir Jasper P Tudor, son of Queen Consort Catherine DeValois (Catherine of France). Catherine was daughter of King Charles VI of France.
*insert jaw drop*
Catherine was married to King Henry V of England. The marriage was made due to a treaty between England and France. Catherine was widowed, and Henry V never met his son, Henry VI.
Henry VI took the role as King, but because he was so young, the kingdom was ruled by his advisers until he was able to take over. During this time, The Queen-Mother Catherine developed a relationship with the keeper of her wardrobe — Owen Tudor. Another marriage was forbidden, but as soon as her son came of age, he agreed to the union and Owen and Catherine were married. Owen and Catherine’s second son was Jasper.
The full story is rather tragic. Catherine died and Owen Tudor was imprisoned. However, as a child, Jasper was brought to live with the King, his half brother. He was eventually made Earl of Pembroke by the King, and he was invested as a knight.
Once King Henry VI died, there was so much unrest and who was heir to the throne was completely up in the air. Jasper ultimately fought to put his nephew, Henry Tudor, on the throne. Henry was crowned King of England, but getting there was messy. In the process he was imprisoned with Henry, and almost everything was lost. Once their side was victorious, King Henry insured all of Jasper’s titles (and more) were restored to him for his loyalty. This was the beginning of the great Tudor dynasty.
Jasper apparently had a thing for mistresses. And from one of these unions, Joan was born. Illegitimate daughter of a Knight, granddaughter of a Princess and Queen, and my 17th great grandmother.
Next time we’ll explore my Irish and Scottish royal lines!
Have you ever discovered something shocking about your family history?