Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk (1485-1545)

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Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk (1485-1545), in a jewelled plumed velvet cap, a crimson doublet with a white collar and a fur-trimmed black robe, wearing the Badge of the Order of the Garter.

Oil on panel

86 x 68.5 cm

Brandon, a life-long friend of Henry VIII, bought the wardship of Katherine Willoughby de Eresby, heiress of Grimsthorpe, from the King, intending to marry her to his own son.

When Brandon’s third wife wife Mary (sister of Henry VIII) died, Brandon married Katherine himself. He was 48 and Katherine was 14 years old.

The Duke and Duchess of Suffolk lived at Grimsthorpe from about 1540 and hosted Henry VIII here for three days in 1541, on his progress to York.

Charles Brandon died in August 1545. King Henry VIII was so distraught at the loss of his closest friend that he ignored Brandon’s wish to be buried at Tattershall in Lincolnshire and instead, he was buried at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle at the King’s own expense.

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