I don't wanna bother but I was just wondering. If an English prince/king marries his mistress, would that make their kids legitimate? I'm asking bc that's what John of Gaunt did with his mistress. But apparently the Magna Carta prohibits and doesn't recognise legitimation by subsequent marriage. (Is that why the Tudor claim is kinda rickety and wobbly?)
Oh wow, Medieval English Law questions are back in my inbox. I’m not a scholar of the Magna Carta, by any means.
I would find it super odd if the Magna Carta addressed this very particular fact pattern, since it just about only ever happened to John of Gaunt and Katheryn Swynford. Although I guess that little loophole probably needed tying up so no one ever took advantage of it in the future (I can honestly see HVIII doing that). John of Gaunt and Katheryn Swynford’s children were legitimized by royal and papal decrees, not as an automatic function of the law. That is to say, they didn’t get married and all of the sudden their kids were legitimized, they had to petition for that status.
The claim by Henry VII that the throne was his by right of inheritance was based on his status as a direct descendant of John of Gaunt. However, although Gaunt’s children had been legitimized, they had been barred from inheriting the throne. I don’t think Henry VII had a right to the throne by inheritance, and if he wanted to use that argument he probably should have had his family un-barred (?) from inheriting the throne. The right by conquest was enough of a reason, I don’t know why he insisted on using the weak-ass inheritance reason in tandem with it.