16 July 1517 – The Birth of Frances Grey, Duchess of Suffolk

Frances Brandon's tomb effigy
Frances Brandon’s tomb effigy

On 16th July 1517, St Francis’s Day, Frances Grey (née Brandon), Duchess of Suffolk, was born at Hatfield. She was the eldest daughter of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, and Mary Tudor, widow of King Louis XII of France and sister of Henry VIII.

Frances married Henry Grey, Marquis of Dorset (and later Duke of Suffolk), in 1533 and the couple had three children: Jane (Lady Jane Grey), who married Lord Guildford Dudley in 1553; Katherine, who married Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford, in 1560 (her first marriage to Henry Herbert was not consummated and was annulled); and Mary, who married Thomas Keyes, Sergeant Porter to Elizabeth I, in 1565.

Henry Grey and Lady Jane Grey were executed in February 1554, following Wyatt’s Rebellion, and Frances married Adrian Stokes, a member of her household, in March 1554. The couple had at least one child, Elizabeth, but none of them survived infancy. Frances died on 21st November 1559 at Richmond and was buried in St Edmund’s Chapel, Westminster Abbey, on the orders of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I.

You can read more about Frances in Susan Higginbotham’s excellent article The Maligned Frances Grey and a list of facts about her in my article on her death – click here.

(Photo from Wikipedia.de)

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