Henry VIII’s Best Friend: Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk

by Wenceslaus Hollar, after Hans Holbein the Younger, line engraving, possibly 1647
by Wenceslaus Hollar, after Hans Holbein the Younger, line engraving, possibly 1647

Charles Brandon
Born: circa end of 1483/early 1484
Death: 22 August 1545
Parents: Sir William Brandon & Elizabeth Bruyn
Marriage #1: Margaret (Neville) Mortimer (the widow of John Mortimer)
Marriage #2: Anne Browne
Marriage #3: Mary Tudor, Queen Dowager of France (Henry VIII’s sister)
Marriage #4: Catherine Willoughby
Children:
Anne Brandon, Baroness Grey of Powis
Mary Brandon, Baroness Monteagle
Frances, Duchess of Suffolk
Eleanor, Countess of Cumberland
Henry Brandon, Earl of Lincoln
Henry Brandon, Duke of Suffolk
Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk

The son of William Brandon, who was the standard bearer for Henry Tudor during the Battle of Bosworth, Charles Brandon’s fate was held solely by his father’s decisions. William Brandon was killed during the Battle of Bosworth – some say by the hand of Richard III himself.  His loyalty and ultimate sacrifice to Henry Tudor (soon to be Henry VII) catapulted his son, Charles into the circle of the future Henry VIII. Henry VII repaid William’s loyalty by educating Charles with his own children. Henry (VIII) and Charles became fast friends and stayed that way for decades. Charles was rare in the fact that he remained friends with Henry for so long, even after marrying his favorite sister, Mary without his consent.

Charles Brandon Photo Christie’s Images Ltd 2011
by Unknown artist, oil on panel, late 16th century
by Unknown artist, oil on panel, late 16th century
Mary Brandon, Charles' daughter with Anne Browne.
Mary Brandon, Charles’ daughter with Anne Browne.

 

Frances Brandon, Charles' daughter with Mary Tudor.
Frances Brandon, Charles’ daughter with Mary Tudor.
Eleanor Brandon, Charles’ daughter with Mary Tudor.
Henry Brandon, Charles' son with Mary Tudor.
Henry Brandon, Charles’ son with Mary Tudor.

 

Henry Brandon, Charles' son with Catherine Willoughby.
Henry Brandon, Charles’ son with Catherine Willoughby.

Charles Brandon, Charles' son with Mary Tudor.

Charles Brandon, Charles’ son with Catherine Willoughby.

 

Charles Brandon & Mary Tudor - Duke & Duchess of Suffolk
Charles Brandon & Mary Tudor – Duke & Duchess of Suffolk
Catherine Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk
Catherine Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk