Historical Talks Northants

Books by Roger Powell available on

Roger Powell

Author & Historian

Books by Roger Powell Northamptonshire

H O M E        |        C A L E N D A R   O F   T A L K S

Guest Speaker and Historical Talks in Northants and surrounding counties of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire


Books by Roger Powell Northamptonshire Books by Roger Powell Northamptonshire

Copyright © 2014 Roger Powell, Rushden, Northants

or direct from the author

Royal Sex


Royal Bastards


B O O K S :        R O Y A L   S E X        |        R O Y A L   B A S T A R D S

Guest Speaker and Historical Talks in Northants and surrounding counties of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire

Website by:   Northants Website Design

Books by Roger Powell Northamptonshire

01933 411214

Royal Bastards

Illegitimate Children of the British Royal Family

Roger Powell & Peter Beauclerk-Dewar

History Press 2008

Books by Roger Powell Northamptonshire

Sex, power, mystery and blood.  The gripping and untold stories about the British monarchy and their unofficial off-spring.

Since 1066 when William the Conqueror (alias William the Bastard) took the throne, English and Scottish kings have sired at least 150 children out of wedlock. Many were acknowledged at court and founded dynasties of their own - several of today's dukedoms are descended from them. Others were only acknowledged grudgingly or not at all. In the 20th century this trend for Royals to father illegitimate children continued, but the parentage, while highly probable, has not been officially recognised.

  Chronicling the long line of royal bastards, from King Edward IV, to the loose ends of the Windsor line.

  Split into four sections: Tudor, Stuart, Hanoverian and, perhaps most fascinating, Royal Loose Ends.

 A genuinely fresh approach to British kings and queens, examining their lives and times through the unfamiliar perspective of their illegitimate children.

 Interviewees include many of their descendants.

 Sheds light on the perennially fascinating topic of sexual habits; the links between politics, power and patronage; the class system, scandal and celebrity; and the different expectations we have of men and women.


Roger Powell Gives Talks on the following:

•  Royal Bastards “A Quest for a Crown”

•  Royal Mistresses “A Quest for Love”

•  Great Painters

•  Great Architects

•  Great Military Commanders

•  Noble Families of Britain

•  History of Marriage & Divorce in England


•  Royal Palaces

•  Great British Prime Ministers

•  Great Musicians

Roger Powell Cambridgeshire Historical Talks Roger Powell Cambridgeshire Historical Talks Roger Powell Cambridgeshire Historical Talks

Review of Royal Bastards by Peter Pininski, author of The Stuarts Last Secret and Bonnie Prince Charlie – A Life

Right Royal Bastards, published by Burke’s Peerage & Gentry in 2006, and the paperback, Royal Bastards, published in 2008 by The History Press, constitute the product of leading genealogists, Peter Beauclerk-Dewar and Roger Powell. Though their discipline is very much in fashion, those who associate it with boring lists of ancestors will be delighted by this book’s fascinating and exceptionally readable content, which serves excellently as a reference book for the dozens of short biographies presented in chronological order.

To dismiss royal illegitimacy is not only to miss an important insight into the characters of those who have ruled or reigned, but is in any case wrong. The British Royal House descends from William the Conqueror, accurately described by the French as Guillaume le Bâtard. The dynasty then continues through Henry VII, whose claim to the throne was through his mother’s illegitimate line. Nor was illegitimacy an obstacle to the Royal House of Portugal whose fifteenth century ancestor, John I, was the natural son of Pedro I. The 1600s then witnessed James, 1st Earl of Moray, bastard son of James V, King of Scots, who wielded semi-royal power and became Regent of Scotland. Even the wife of the present prime minister is an illegitimate royal descendant.

Early generations were covered by the 1984 publication entitled The Royal Bastards of Medieval England 1066-1486 by Chris Given-Wilson and Alice Curteis. Thus Beauclerk-Dewar and Powell’s work begins after that date and continues down to the present generation. The lives of those presented demonstrate how different were the individuals recorded. Many were obscure, but others, such as the Duke of Richmond and the Duke of Monmouth, natural sons of Henry VIII and Charles II respectively, were even considered candidates for the throne. No less eminent was the Duke of Berwick, illegitimate son of James II & VII, who founded ducal dynasties in France and Spain, and whose military skills earned him the baton of a Marshal of France.

Unlike French kings, no British monarch ever legitimized a child of natural birth as that gave a right to succession. The exception is that of the de jure king, the exiled Prince Charles Edward Stuart, ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’, who in 1784 legitimized his only child and heir, Charlotte, Duchess of Albany, in a final attempt to keep his dynastic hopes alive. But having previously banned her from marrying or becoming a nun, and despairing of her situation, she had already given birth to three natural children by her close relation, Prince Ferdinand de Rohan.

Striking is the different way in which various dynasties treated their illegitimate offspring.  Though intolerant of competition for the throne, the Tudors were generous in recognition and offices, whereas the open and inclusive attitude of the Stuarts seems almost artistic and resulted in the rich grants of both titles and estates. Four of the surviving twenty four ducal houses descend from Charles II – Richmond, Grafton, St Albans and Buccleuch. By contrast the Hanoverians were miserly, whilst Queen Victoria’s primness brought an end to the centuries-old tradition of open monarchical liaisons. The Windsor examples are neither one thing nor the other: Edward VIII’s Mrs Simpson and the present Prince of Wales’ Mrs Parker Bowles contain neither the baroque largesse of the Stuarts nor Queen Victoria’s Germanic correctness, and along with less well-known claims of that dynasty seem strangely disappointing.

This excellent and authoritative book concludes with a section entitled ‘Royal Loose Ends’ which, though provocative, nevertheless avoids anything too speculative or sensationalist. The authors’ resourcefulness extends not only to the high quality of their research, but also to the fact that they succeeded in conducting DNA tests on the leading male-line descendants of Charles II, genetics being unmoved by marriage certificates, thus establishing the Royal Stuart ‘Y’ chromosome.

It was good to see you on Thursday when you came to Holcot WI. Your talk was very interesting. I always thought mistresses were something to be kept secret. But it seems if you were a royal mistress it was a position of great power and prestige . . . Thank you once again for a very interesting talk.


Roger Powell Cambridgeshire Historical Talks

Royal Bastards was originally published by Burke’s Peerage & Gentry in 2006 as Right Royal Bastards.

Here are more reviews of the original book:

Literary Review September 2007

Literary Review September 2007

Review by Charles Beauclerk

Review in Family History

Review by Professor Ronald Hutton

Review by Charles Beauclerk Review by Professor Ronald Hutton Review in Family History