Will Somer is renowned as Henry VIII’s fool. He entered royal service at some point prior to July 1535, and his final public appearance was at Elizabeth I’s coronation. Although he was not one of the great politicians of the day, like Wolsey, Cromwell, or Cecil, Somer has become strongly associated with the Tudor court.
Henry VIII himself seems to have held Will in high esteem; he can be seen in the background of The Family of Henry VIII portrait, and several 16th century portraits, at least one of which was based on a lost contemporary original, demonstrate the intimacy between the two men.
Despite his prominence, not much has actually been known about Will until recently; in her book ‘Disability and the Tudors: All the Kings’ Fools,’ Phillipa Vincent-Connolly Author & Historian provides new insight into Will and his fellow fools, particularly their status and how they were viewed by their society.
Below are some of the images of Will that show how closely he was connected with Henry VIII and the Tudors.
For more information on Will and his fellow fools, I highly recommend Phillipa Vincent-Connolly Author & Historian’s book ‘Disability and the Tudors: All the Kings’ Fools’