2016 Anne Boleyn Files Advent Calendar

December 16: Charles Brandon

Thank you to Sarah Bryson, author of Charles Brandon: The King's Man, for sharing with us these 10 facts about Charles Brandon.

1) Charles Brandon was born to William Brandon and Elizabeth Bruyn sometime during 1484. The exact date is not known nor the location although it is strongly believed that Brandon was born in France while his parents were in exile there with Henry Tudor (future Henry VII).

2) Brandon married his first wife Anne Browne at Stepney church. He left her after the birth of their first daughter to marry Margaret Neville, Dame Mortimer, a woman somewhat older than himself. On 7 February 1507, Brandon had licence of Dame Margaret’s lands and began to sell them off in quick succession, profiting over £1000.

3) After seeking to have his marriage to Dame Mortimer annulled, Brandon returned to Anne Brown and married her in a public ceremony at St Michael, Cornhill.

4) In 1513, Charles Brandon flirted with Margaret of Austria, Duchess of Savoy causing a huge scandal by stealing a ring from her finger! Rumours spread that Brandon and the Duchess would marry which Henry VIII had to deny strongly.

5) On Candlemas Day, 2nd of February 1514, Charles Brandon, Viscount Lisle was formally invested as the Duke of Suffolk. The ceremony took place at Lambeth and was conducted by the King.

6) On 1st January 1515, Mary Tudor’s husband, King Louis XII of France, died.  Charles Brandon was sent to France to bring Mary home. Brandon brought Mary home, but he committed treason and married Mary in secret without Henry VIII’s  permission! The newly married couple return to Dover on 2nd May and were married again on 13th May at Greenwich in front of the King and Queen.

7) On Sunday 1st June 1533, Anne Boleyn was crowned Queen at Westminster Abbey. Charles Brandon’s role was to walk before the future Queen carrying her royal crown and then during the coronation he stood close to the Queen holding a white staff of office. Brandon then acted as Lord High Steward and Constable at Anne Boleyn’s coronation feast which was held at Westminster Hall. He wore a doublet covered in pearls and rode a charger covered in crimson velvet up and down the hall. Anne Boleyn and Brandon had an interesting relationship, neither seeming to like one another at all.

8) Mary Tudor died on 25th June 1533 and on 7th September 1533 Charles Brandon married Katherine Willoughby. Brandon was forty-nine, and Katherine was just fourteen!

9) In 1539, Charles Brandon was appointed The Lord Grand Master/Lord Steward of the Household. Brandon was now the first dignitary of court and was responsible for the household of the court below stairs, including such things as the running of the kitchens, the provision of fuel for the household, drinks and other domestic responsibilities as well as overseeing the maintenance of the grounds and gardens of the household. Brandon was also responsible for felonies or offences committed by the King’s servants. Brandon was also the head of the Board of Green Cloth.

10) On 22nd August 1545 at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, Charles Brandon died at Guildford. He wished to be buried in the college church of Tattershall in Lincoln without any pomp or display, but on 9th September Brandon was buried at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, near the south door of the choir, at the King’s expense.

Sarah Bryson