This is a famous English surname of royal origins. It was the surname given originally to Henry Fitzroy, the natural child of King Henry V111 by his mistress Elizabeth Blount in 1519 but he died in suspicious circumstances in 1636 without issue. In 1662 it was more famously given to the various natural children of King Charles 11nd, born of his then mistress Barbara Villers, the Duchess of Cleveland. The first was Charles Fitzroy, who in 1675 was created Duke of Southampton, and in 1709 on the death of his mother, became Duke of Cleveland. His brother Henry Fitzroy, born in 1663, became the First Duke of Grafton in 1675. He had a short but adventurous life. Married at twelve, he served in various armies with distinction. These included in 1684, the French in Flanders against the Dutch, and then in 1685 for his 'uncle' James 11nd of England against his 'brother', the Duke of Monmouth, another natural son of Charles 11nd. Finally in a total role reversal, he served William of Orange in 1688, against King James. After further action in the battle of the Boyne in 1690, when William defeated James, Henry Fitzroy was killed at the battle of Cork, in the last moments of the war. The prefix as 'Fitz' is a Norman French term not dissimilar to the Gaelic 'Mac' in meaning 'son of', whilst 'Roy' is an anglicised form of 'roi' meaning king. There are about twenty surviving surnames commencing in 'Fitz'. Mostly they are of Norman-Irish origins, but only a few have the true 'royal' connections of Fitzroy.
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