Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk (1484-1545)
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Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk (1484-1545)

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Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, was one of Henry VIII's favourites. Following King Louis XII's death in 1515, Brandon secretly married the former Princess Mary, Henry's sister. He had a wife still living at the time, but this inconvenient fact was overcome by a Papal Bull. He was forgiven by Henry, after the presentation of rich gifts, and continued in Royal favour until his death in 1545.

The Queen would never let me be in rest till I had granted her to be married.
- Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, in letter to Cardinal Wolsey, following his secret marriage to Mary, dowager queen of France.

(2) Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk (1484-1545)

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Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk (1484-1545)

Charles Brandon's father had died at Bosworth Field in 1485 in the service of Henry VII, so it was no surprise that his handsome and athletic son, brought up in the royal household and with a distinguished record in the campaign in France in 1513, for which he was made Duke of Suffolk, should be chosen for a diplomatic mission to France in 1515.

Henry's favourite sister, Mary, had had to agree to her brother's command that she be married to the old King Louis XII two years previously, but after his death, when Henry stipulated that she marry his successor, Francis I, both Mary and Francis refused. When Mary's adored Brandon arrived in France, she begged him to marry her. In spite of the obvious danger, because Mary had disobeyed her brother the King and married a commoner, thereby committing treason, he agreed and they were married in France.

Possibly because of the intervention of Cardinal Wolsey, Henry for once did not wreak vengeance of those who had thwarted him and even gave them a second wedding at Greenwich. The couple remained in royal favour and Brandon was to turn against Wolsey by being involved in his downfall in 1529. In spite of his personal courage, Brandon was one of the few who could joust successfully with the King. He was an incompetent leader and his involvement in the later campaigns in France produced only failure. Their granddaughter, Lady Jane Grey, was made Queen for nine days.


You have placed yourself in the greatest danger that ever man was in.
- Letter to Duke of Somerset, following the latter's secret marriage to the dowager queen of France, Henry VIII's sister.

By the Mass, now I see that the old saw is true, that there was never legate nor cardinal that did good in England.
- Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, on the failure of the legatine court to pronouce Catherine of Aragon's marriage null.

My Lord, ...speak not so quickly and so reproachfully to your friends, for ye know best what friendship ye have received at my hands.
Cardinal Wolsey, referring to the incident of Brandon's secret marriage to the Princess Mary. Advanced Category Search

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