Was Charles Brandon a womaniser?

Posted By on June 20, 2016

Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon I’m delighted to welcome Sarah Bryson, author of Charles Brandon: The King’s Man to the Anne Boleyn Files today on the first stop of her book/blog tour.

Sarah’s here to share an article and her publisher, MadeGlobal Publishing, is also offering a paperback copy of Sarah’s biography of Brandon to one lucky Anne Boleyn Files follower. All you have to do to enter the giveaway is comment below this article saying what you’d like to know about Charles Brandon. Leave your comment before the end of Friday 24th June. A winner will be picked at random and contacted for their details.

Over to Sarah…

History often records Charles Brandon as a womaniser, an irresistible man and a great favourite of women. He is even alleged to have kidnapped one of his wives and stolen her away to marry her! He has been accused of flirting with other women and generally being a playboy. Certainly Brandon was no stranger to women. He had four wives and at least one precontract to marry that was eventually called off. Yet does this make him a womaniser or are we viewing the man’s life through a modern lens?

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, to “womanise” is to peruse “casual sexual relationships with multiple women.” Certainly in his younger years, it can be safely stated that Brandon had quite a chequered marital life. It was clear that there was one marriage and one proposal of marriage that he went into for the sole reason of furthering his financial prospects. Yet Brandon also seems to have deeply loved two of his four wives, one of which he outlived.

Looking once again at his marital life Brandon was married four times, two of his wives dying before himself. In 1505/1506, Brandon was romantically linked to Anne Browne, daughter of Sir Anthony Browne. It is recorded that “he was in love and resorted muche to the company of Anne Browne.” Certainly from this confession it can be assumed that Brandon was in love, or believed himself to be in love with Anne Browne and enjoyed her company. The couple promised one another to marry and then slept together, conceiving a daughter. However, the marriage would not have brought Brandon great financial prospects. Anne was the daughter of Sir Anthony Browne, Lieutenant of Calais and a Knight. With his second marriage, Anthony Browne had at least one son who would become his heir and thus Anne would receive little of her father’s wealth when he passed in November 1506.

Brandon, a young man at only twenty-two years of age, needed money to help further his career, and thus, he turned his attention to forty-three-year-old Margaret Neville, Dame Mortimer, and made her his wife. This marriage brought greater advancement for Brandon, and he began to sell off his new wife’s lands to the value of around £1000. For this Brandon has been referred to as a womaniser yet what must Margaret Neville have thought? She was marrying a man almost half her age; did she truly think he loved her? Surely she could not have been so blind as to think that the marriage was for love rather than advancement? As a woman brought up with the belief that it was her duty to serve her husband she would have had to submit herself to the knowledge that Brandon would have used the marriage to further his career.

Less than two years later, Brandon was looking to have his marriage to Dame Mortimer annulled due to consanguinity, that is due to his previously relationship with her niece, Anne Browne.

There is no doubt that Brandon used Dame Margaret for his own financial benefit. This is clear to anyone looking at the marriage. However, after his marriage to Dame Margaret, Brandon returned to his first wife. It has been reported that Brandon kidnapped Anne Browne, however, there is simply no factual evidence for this. Together the couple had another daughter before Anne tragically died a short time later in 1510. The fact that Brandon returned to Anne must show that he held some affection for his first wife and did his duty and returned to her to raise their daughter and subsequently their second child.

At the age of twenty-nine, Brandon was a widower and looking to further his career and financial standing, thus, in 1513, he proposed marriage to eight-year-old Elizabeth Grey, Viscountess Lisle, daughter and heiress of the late John Grey, 2nd Baron Lisle. First and foremost, the age of marriage for a woman in the Tudor period was twelve, so Brandon clearly had no intention of consummating the marriage. But what the proposal did bring him was the title of Viscount and the money related to the lands and rents that Elizabeth Grey owned.

Perhaps Brandon would have married Elizabeth Grey when she came of age, but he would have had to wait six years for that to happen and it appears that he was more interested in her wealth and money than an actual physical marriage. However, before Elizabeth came of age Brandon was again married.

There is no doubt that Brandon’s marriage to Mary Tudor; younger sister of Henry VIII, was a love affair. It could be argued that Brandon married Mary to further his own prospects, but Brandon’s marriage to Mary left the couple in great debt. Brandon defied his King and risked the charge of treason and death to marry Mary. The story of Brandon and Mary’s marriage writes itself like a love story, and it does seem as though the pair genuinely loved each other.
A few months after their marriage Brandon did write to the King stating:

“I beseech your grace to tell Mistress Blount and Mistress Carew the next time I write to them or send them tokens, they shall write to be or send me tokens again”.

However, it is highly doubtful that there was any sexual or deep romantic interest from Brandon towards Mistress Blount or Mistress Carew, especially since Brandon had just married Henry VIII’s younger sister! Most likely this was just another case of courtly love, an idea that was related to the Arthurian legends where a man wooed a woman without any real desire to marry her or get her into bed. Brandon could also have been writing to play along with his King’s romantic interests in Elizabeth “Bessie Blount”.

Whatever the outcome of this letter there are no reports of Brandon sleeping with other women during his marriage to Mary Tudor. It seems their marriage was a love affair, and the couple were married for eighteen years before Mary died on 25th of June 1533.

Brandon married his fourth wife within three months of Mary Tudor’s death. He married Katherine Willoughby, heiress to her father’s fortune and a girl of fourteen years of age. There was a thirty-five year age gap between the pair and despite Katherine being of legal age to marry, there was some talk about the age difference and the suddenness of the marriage. Once again, it appears that Brandon married Katherine to secure her fortune and to incorporate it into his own wealth.

However, the benefits for Katherine in this marriage cannot be overlooked. She was being elevated to one of the highest ranking women in the country, after the Queen and the Princesses Mary and Elizabeth. No longer was she a ward, but now she was a woman who ran her own household and whom people would turn to for favours and advancement. Her own career began to prosper, and she became a strong believer in the new teachings and religious beliefs. She also became close friends with Henry VIII’s last wife Katherine Parr, who also shared Katherine’s religious beliefs.
There does seem to be some mutual affection and understanding between Brandon and his last wife. While Brandon was conservative in his religion, he was also known to be a patron to both conservative and reformers. Katherine was a strong reformer, and Brandon seems to have supported her religious beliefs, even allowing her to call her dog Gardiner, after the staunch Catholic Stephen Gardiner.

Whatever the true nature of their relationship, Brandon and Katherine’s marriage lasted almost twelve years, producing two sons, only ending with the Duke’s death on August 22nd 1545. Despite what the television show “The Tudors” depicted there are no reports or accounts of Brandon taking a mistress during his final marriage.

So the question remains, was Brandon a womaniser? Again, his behaviour needs to be considered according to the beliefs and behaviours of the time. It was a common belief that sexual intercourse during pregnancy could damage the child and that a man needed sex to remain healthy and strong so it was not unthinkable, nor was it unusual, for a man to seek a mistress while his wife was pregnant. Certainly Henry VIII is known to have several mistresses in addition to his six wives. William Compton, courtier and close friend of the King, took the Duke of Buckingham’s sister to be his mistress for many years. Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, put aside his wife and took one of his servants, Bess Holland, as his mistress. Even Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, a dedicated man of the church, was living with his mistress with whom he had children.

When considering Brandon’s actions compared to those around him it does not seem as though he was out of the ordinary, or behaving in a manner that was not common at the time. Yes, he was married four times, but of those four marriages two of those wives died before him, and the last only ended due to his death. Certainly he knew how to play the game of courtly love, his very public flirtation with Margaret of Savoy was testament to that. He knew how to woo women and there is no denying that he was an extremely handsome man. Certainly in his younger years Brandon used Dame Margaret to further his financial position and he gained the wardship of Elizabeth Grey to claim her land and wealth. Yet there was also his marriage to Anne Browne which seemed to hold genuine affection, and certainly his marriage to Mary Tudor was a love match.

Yes, Brandon did have a chequered marital and romantic life but to call him a womaniser would be judging him through the lenses of modern standards. He had a way with women, that is quite obvious, but he also loved deeply and had two long-lasting marriages that only ended due to death.

For further information about Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk’s life, please refer to my new book Charles Brandon The King’s Man available on Amazon – click here to go to your country’s Amazon site. Or you can find me at by website www.queentohistory.com or my Facebook page.

Here is the schedule for Sarah’s book/blog tour:

book_tour_poster_updated

Sarah Bryson is a researcher, writer and educator who has a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education with Honours. She currently works with children with disabilities. She is passionate about Tudor history and has a deep interest in Mary Boleyn, Charles Brandon, the reign of Henry VIII and the people of his court. She is the author of Mary Boleyn in a Nutshell and Charles Brandon: The King’s Man.

Sarah Bryson Visiting England in 2009 furthered her passion and when she returned home she started a website, queentohistory.com, and a Facebook page about Tudor history. Sarah lives in Australia, enjoys reading, writing and Tudor costume enactment.

Sarah will be at MadeGlobal’s “An Evening with the Author” event on 24 September in London – click here to find out more.

More about Charles Brandon: The King’s Man

Charles Brandon was an enigmatic, charismatic man, rising from a mere boyhood friend of the future king, Henry VIII, to flirting with a European duchess, marrying Mary Tudor, Dowager Queen of France, and being created Duke of Suffolk. Brandon was one of the best jousters during the reign of Henry, he was clever, athletic and confident, though his confidence sometimes got him into trouble.

In this detailed biography, Sarah Bryson (Mary Boleyn in a Nutshell) gives us a highly detailed look at Charles Brandon’s life and times, including information and background on each of his marriages, his children, and his lifetime achievements.
Fully referenced and indexed, Charles Brandon: The King’s Man is an invaluable resource for any Tudor enthusiast.

“A vivid portrait of one of the most enigmatic and fascinating men at the Tudor court.” – Josephine Wilkinson, author of Katherine Howard

“An enjoyable and readable biography of this fascinating Tudor man.” – Claire Ridgway, author of The Fall of Anne Boleyn

“Bryson has constructed a fluid and well-informed narrative which rings with passion for her subject. She successfully brings to life a vibrant and complex man, drawing out the different levels of his identity as a courtier, jouster, politician, friend to the King and as a husband and lover. I defy anyone to read this interesting study and not to be drawn in by the author’s infectious desire to understand the real Charles Brandon.” – Amy Licence, author of The Six Wives & Many Mistresses of Henry VIII

Charles Brandon cover

Remember to leave a comment below saying what you’d like to know about Charles Brandon. Leave your comment before the end of Friday 24th June.

Sources

  • Baldwin, David (2015) Henry VIII’s Last Love: The Extraordinary Life of Katherine
    Willoughby, Lady-in-Waiting to the Tudors
    , Amberley Publishing, Gloucestershire.
  • Denny, J (2007) Anne Boleyn: A New Life of England’s Tragic Queen, Da Capo Press, Great Britain.
  • Hart, Kelly (2009) The Mistresses of Henry VIII, The History Press, Gloucestershire.
  • Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII, 1509-47, ed. J.S Brewer, James Gairdner and R.H Brodie, His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1862-1932.
  • Licence, Amy (2014) The Six Wives & Many Mistresses of Henry VIII, Amberley Publishing, Gloucestershire.
  • Medieval Lives: Birth, Marriage and Death 2013, BBC Scotland.
  • Merriam-Webster Incorporated 2015, “Womanize”, An Encyclopaedia Britannica Company, viewed 17 May 2016, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/womanize.
  • Richardson, Douglas (2011) Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study In Colonial And Medieval Families, 2nd Edition, CreateSpace, USA.
  • Sadlack, Erin (2001) The French Queen’s Letters, Palgrave Macmillan, New York.
  • Wilson, Derek (2009) A Brief History of Henry VIII, Constable and Robinson Ltd., London.
  • Weir, Alison (1991) The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Grove Press, New York.
  • Weir, Alison (2008) Henry VIII: King & Court, Vintage Books, London.

48 thoughts on “Was Charles Brandon a womaniser?”

  1. Michael Leaver says:

    This is an absolutely fabulous read, and all Tudor enthusiasts should read it and add it to their library.
    Sarah did a stunning job at bringing Charles’ story to life.

  2. Robin says:

    Charles is such an interesting person; I want to learn more about everything! I love this period in history with all of the religious and political upheaval. There are so many rich stories still to be told if only we could hear them.

  3. LINDA FOX says:

    CHARLES BRANDON IS A VERY I8NTERESTING FELLOW. HE MUST HAVE BEEN VERY SMART AND A GOOD LEADER AS THE KING ASSIGNED HIM MANY DUTIES AND MADE HIM DUKE OF SUFFOLK .
    WE UNDERSTAND THAT CHARLES AND THE KING WERE CLOSE FRIENDS FOR MOST OF THIER LIVES .
    HOW OLD WERE HENRY AND CHARLES WHEN THEY MET …DID THEY SAHRE THE CLOSE BOND WE HAVE RAD ABOUT ADN SEEN IN FILMS ETC…

  4. Michelle says:

    Oh yes, I believe Charles Brandon was a womanizer. He was the Kings best friend, he did what the King did. I would to love to read this, I have many questions about him and his life in the Kings shadow. Thanks

  5. Miladyblue says:

    I would be more inclined to call him a social climber and financial opportunist, considering his relationships with most of the women named above. Charles doesn’t seem to be any more or less promiscuous than any other high ranked man of the age, so calling him a womanizer would be a stretch.

    Does anyone know why there seems to be such a difference between the two versions of the portrait of Charles and Mary above? This is the one I think of as “sour face” for Mary, because she looks so stern, and in addition, Charles is portrayed with what looks to be a considerable amount of gray in his hair. In the other version, Mary’s expression is sweeter, and Charles’s hair is darker.

    In addition, why is Mary portrayed with dark hair, when she had the famous flaming Tudor locks?

  6. Deborah Schumacher says:

    Charles Brandon is a fascinating man. It seems to me that he was very alike to King Henry. They were raised together and showed a lot of the same beliefs and interests and values as the King. I would like to know if my belief that they were like brothers is correct. It seems liked they mirrored each other. The King, I believe, took things further then Brandon would of. I would love to win this book and get to know a fascinating man and best friend to the king.

    1. Sarah Bryson says:

      Deborah Brandon and Henry VIII had been referred to as brothers! Brandon was even referred as Henry VIII’s bastard brother!

  7. Christine says:

    I think he loved the Princess Mary as she was beautiful and charming yet possibly the fact she was a Princess added to her attraction? He also married Maria De Salinas daughter, the former being Katherine Of Aragon’s devoted friend so I think that was for love also. must admit I don’t know much about Charles but it’d be great to win a copy of this book as he shared the King’s life for so long, he knew exactly what sort of man he was like and had grown old with him, he knew what misery’s he was cast into over the deaths of his close friends and wives, can’t really say if I think he was a womaniser or not, in my experience most men are ha! But I should imagine when they were both young they would go out as they called it in those days ‘wenching a lot’, I think this book makes for an interesting read.

  8. Amanda R. says:

    I am certainly quite curious about the Duke. He was always apart of Henry VIII’s life, but I still feel there isn’t as much about him. One can only wonder…

  9. Janet Neatby says:

    This was an interesting article to read. I would enjoy reading a book about him.

  10. Agnes Szabo says:

    I really want to know how he bore Henry VIII during his life.

  11. Ashlee Payne says:

    Interesting write-up. I would love to know if Charles’ love for Mary Tudor was real and true! I’ve always been intrigued with their relationship.

    1. Sarah Bryson says:

      I truly believe that it was a genuine and deep love. Brandon risked his very life to marry Mary!

  12. Julia says:

    How did he stay the favorite for all those years, when so many others fell? He must have walked a fine line.

  13. Melissa Boyd says:

    My love of all things Tudor began with the old rhyme involving Henry VIII, divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded survived. Surely a man with that many wives and with that many different outcomes was worthy of researching further. It was only after I began researching further that I fell in love with Charles Brandon. If you look at him and his position, much as this article points out, he was in a precarious one throughout most of his life. He could have either remained a lower man and barely scraped by an existence, or he could have done what he needed to do in order to prosper. I don’t fault him for making the decision to survive and survive well. For all of his benefits though I think he suffered some hardships as well. By gaining a higher status he was also more at the kings will and well all know that Henry was not always the one on your side all of the time. I imagine that Charles walked on egg shells for a good time while at court to avoid ruffling feathers of the king that couldn’t be unruffled while also attempting to do what most everyone in this world wants to do…live as happy and normal life as possible. I think his marriages to both Mary Tudor and Katherine Willoughby were both examples of perhaps not starting out as the smartest of decisions, but they both turned out to be examples of points in his life when Charles probably felt the most stable and sure footed that he had ever been. Knowing that you had someone who counted on you, who would listen to you, who would talk with you not because you had money or status but because you were theirs, I think really changed the man he was in his youth. As a young man he wasn’t going to go against his peers and poo-poo all of the flirting and carousing with women that most young men did during that time. We don’t even knock young men and women who do that today..so why point a finger at him then. I think that like most young men he had wild oats to sow and he did so. But when it came down to being a man and owning up to his responsibilities he did the very best that he could while being as honorable as we he could afford to be. To ask more of him would have been unfair and would have only set him up for failure.

    Win or not, I am really looking forward to reading this book. I always enjoy learning more about the Charles Brandon that in comparison to some of the people of Tudor history we actually know little about.

  14. Anita Jose says:

    Enjoyed reading the article, however, there are a couple of issues with it.

    One, Brandon wrote the sentence about “Mistress Blount and Mistress Carew” a few months before his marriage to Mary Tudor, not after the marriage. In fact, he wrote it as a “P.S.” in a letter from France when he went to participate in the jousting competition conducted to celebrate Mary’s wedding (to Louis XII) and coronation.

    Two, although there are “no reports” of Brandon sleeping with other women during his marriage to Mary Tudor, there is evidence that he fathered an illegitimate son during this marriage. This son, also named Charles Brandon, fought alongside his dad during 1543-44 period and was knighted by him. Later on he became an M.P., but unfortunately, he died in his early thirties. His birth year does correlate with Mary Tudor’s pregnancy with her last child (Henry, Earl of Lincoln), indicating that Brandon, like other upperclass men, took a mistress when his wife was pregnant. Your book does mention this son. So does Dr. Gunn in his 1988 Ph.D. thesis, which became the basis of his bio on Brandon.

    Regarding Brandon’s engagement to Elizabeth Grey, Viscountess Lisle, a number of scholars speculate that the chief objective was to secure a title. The engagement made Brandon Lord Lisle for a while. I believe that Henry gave Brandon Elizabeth’s wardship as both Henry and Brandon were very close to Elizabeth’s stepfather, Thomas Knyvett. Brandon was one of the executors of Knyvett’s will. I don’t think Brandon ever really intended to marry Elizabeth.

    Congrats on your successful book on Brandon, Sarah. (I found your book to be very interesting.) He was surely a very fascinating man, one of the most successful courtiers of the Tudor era.

    1. Sarah Bryson says:

      Anita,

      Unfortunately we do not have an exact birth date for Brandon’s illegitimate son. Due to not having a year of birth we do not therefore know when he was conceived. It is impossible to state with any certainty that Brandon took a mistress while he was married to Mary. It is equally as likely that his illegitimate son was born before he married Mary.

      As I stated in the article it is highly unlikely that Brandon intended to marry Elizabeth Grey but was more likely after her money and lands.

      Sarah xx

      1. Anita Jose says:

        Sarah:

        My information about the illegitimate son’s year of birth came from the History of Parliament Online.

        Given below is the link from the History of Parliament Online, which mentions Charles Brandon’s illegitimate son Charles Brandon. The write-up is well documented and in this bio, his year of birth is given as 1521.

        http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1509-1558/member/brandon-sir-charles-1521-51

        Anita

        1. Claire says:

          Just a quick note re his birthdate, do note that it says “by 1521” and the note says that this is estimated based on the first reference of him so his birthdate is unknown. However, this does suggest that he was conceived after Brandon’s marriage to Mary.

        2. Sarah Bryson says:

          Anita,

          The Parliamentary document actually states “BY” which indicates that Charles was certainly alive in 1521. There is no recorded birth date for him. Therefore he could have been 1 year old in 1521 or he could have been 10, 12, 15…. what I’m saying is that there is no certain birth date and because of this we simply cannot say with any certainty when he was born.

          It is also interesting to note that Brandon did not make any mention of his illegitimate son in his will. Brandon went into quite great detail in his will, providing for his sons, daughters and his sons in law. He also provided for his wife and executors of his will, but he does not mention an illegitimate son.

  15. Maryann Pitman says:

    I think I’d like to know more about his background-genealogy…..he was definitely a man of his time, bolder than most, something that Henry would have appreciated.

  16. Banditqueen says:

    Charles Brandon was not the womanizer of legend or the Tudors. He did not for example bed Buckinghams daughter, nor bring home a flusey from France. However, he certainly did have a colourful marriage history, forgot to sort out the annulment with his aunt Margaret Mortimer and had to be forced by the court to do right by Anne Brown. His most colourful marriage and sexual adventures seem to be in his youth, as with most young men. We now know that biologically men don’t mature and become men until the age of 25. They did not know that back then, although some observation may have given a clue. Men went about in groups, bonding through feats of arms, the tournament, sports, etc, they competed for everything, they showed off and this was how they attracted women. Charles Brandon probably introduced Henry Viii to his first sexual relationship outside of marriage, they appear to have some ladies in common, Elizabeth Carew, for example, so he must have been experienced.

    However, as he matured, became more settled and rose to prestige at court, his sexual adventures also settled down. In 1512 Anne Brown died and Charles Brandon had two daughters to provide for. Charles was rewarded politically and with land. The Lisle lands brought the wardship of Elizabeth Grey a wealthy heiress whom he could have married for the money. It’s possible that Charles may have married her but for his crush on Mary Tudor the King’s sistrr, who he loved. Brandon was created a Duke of Suffolk as reward for his military success in France, but he defied Henry to marry Mary with whom he was in love. He was forced to relinquish the Lisle Grey marriage and lands.

    Brandon did have at least one illegitimate son and may have had two daughters as well, so it is possible that he was unfaithful from time to time, even to Mary, when she was pregnant as other men did this as custom. The evidence does not point to a lot of affairs during his marriage to Mary or his final marriage to Katherine Willoughby. He also married again for money and land to give him more status and prestige. The mix up with his first and second marriages came back to haunt him and Wolsey had to sort out the mess years later. This shows him as careless and could have caused problems with the succession, as his children were in line, the King and of course Mary.

    His final marriage to his ward, Katherine Willoughby may have been for financial means, he was in need of money, but the marriage was also successful and seems to have been affectionate. His marriage to Katherine brought him his biggest land haul and his most successful years. Katherine also benefited, Charles enabled her to sponsor many reformed scholars and to gain her inheritance and jointure. He also upheld her mother’s claim to her lands and was sympathetic to her friendship with Katherine of Aragon. Their sons were excellent scholars, as was Katherine. Katherine was also an executor of his will.

  17. Jennifer O says:

    I would love to learn more about Charles’s relationship with Henry VIII and how he managed to be one of the few close to the king to survive his reign. I would also love to know more about his relationships with each of Henry’s wives.

  18. Betty Dunlap says:

    Charles has always interested me, especially how he managed to remain a close friend of Henry VIII despite Henry’s erratic behaviour and his violent mood changes. I would love to read this book.

  19. Lisa Johnson says:

    Do we know how tall Charles was? I’m very excited about this book and can’t wait to read it!!

  20. Laura says:

    I would like to know more about his life before Mary Tudor, which I know little about.

  21. Debbie Thomas says:

    Fascinating article on the true man for all seasons. My question is about his ward and fourth wife Katherine Willoughby. I thought that I had read somewhere that she was to marry one of Brandon’s sons, when he married her himself? Thank you Sarah and look forward to reading your book.

    1. Sarah Bryson says:

      You are so right Debbie! Katherine Willoughby was destined to marry Brandon’s son Henry but after Mary died he broke that betrothal and married Katherine himself (most likely for her money and land!)

      1. Debbie Thomas says:

        An opportunist and survivor. I do think his loyalty to his King and the fact that he was a “new man”, as well as an obvious mutual and deep respect and friendship, helped him keep in favour for most of his life. He, unlike other nobles of ancient families, presented no threat to the still very young Tudor Dynasty. I find it fascinating that most of Henry VIII’s friends and advisors were “new men” – I wonder if this is a legacy left to Henry by his paranoid father, Henry VII.

  22. carrie says:

    wow great article!!!! would love to read the book!!!! how accurate is the wedding picture of mary and and Brandon? he sure was handsome!!!!!!

  23. Tayla McRae says:

    Charles Brandon amuses me greatly – he was probably just following the king’s example! I’d love to know more about his relationship with Mary Tudor (Henry’s daughter, not sister), if there even was one. Did they ever communicate? Charles was an avid supporter of Katherine of Aragon, and I believe they got on, but I’m curious if Charles continued that with Mary, after Katherine’s death.

  24. Jenn says:

    All I know is that Henry Cavil was hot as Charles Brandon in The Tudors!!

  25. Kathy Becket says:

    This books looks fascinating! I would love to know if Charles continued to truly care about Henry, or was there a time when friendship turned to fear, and sustained because of that?

    1. Sarah Bryson says:

      Upon Brandon’s death Henry VIII was deeply grieved at the loss of his close friend. He paid for a lavish funeral for him and Brandon was buried at St George’s Chapel, where Henry himself was buried. I honestly believe that their friendship was genuine.

  26. Sandra Warfield says:

    Was Brandon more an opportunist than a womanizer? It seems that each woman he chose was very wealthy and had property and he took advantage of that more than he did of the women themselves. It is a very interesting article and stimulates me to want to read more about him. Definitely want to read the book.

    1. Claire says:

      Congratulations, Sandra, you’ve won the giveaway!

      1. Sandra says:

        Thankyou! I’m a little late responding here because I responded to your e-mail, Claire. I’m very honored and happy to have won the book.

        It has arrived, I’ve read it and enjoyed it very much. It really is a kind of heartwarming story of two men in a time when anything might have set off Henry VIII but the two maintained their friendship from childhood until death separated them.

        I hope that others will take the time to read the book by Sarah Bryson because it is written in a way that keeps your attention, and it gave me a soft spot in my heart for Brandon and the friendship that was lifelong between two powerful men in a time when not many could maintain a relationship for life with a king.

  27. Shellie Hayes says:

    Charles Brandon was definitely an interesting man! I too would love to know more about his background genealogy! Really I’d love to know anything! This is my absolute FAVORITE time period to read about! So many fascinating people!

  28. Angie Schmidt says:

    I still have so much to read and discover about this fascinating time of the Tudors! Charles Brandon for me, is a perfect person to learn about and try to get inside his true character, as I do know that things like HBO Tudors was well done..but for me I look forward to reading and learning about the true historical research . I am in awe of how that information is even found! Still, we must interpret the findings as it relates to our points of reference..but I feel I learn so much more from the kind of information that is presented in books like this one.. I want to play a small part in forming my base of understanding of Charles Brandon..but relieved that I will get as accurate facts as possible to begin..not rely on fictional sources to decide what conclusions I gather. My question about Charles relates to the I am sure much larger practice,custom of the time, regarding wardships?. Certainly quite relevant in Charles life..was this a practice unique to this time period? Only relevant to aristocratic families ? Was the king Always involved? Hoping as I learn more this will become clearer.would love to read this book!

  29. Cathy Kinney says:

    Mmmmm, Charles Brandon. Always like learning more. First fascinated as a child, when Disney aired a b&w movie about Charles and Mary Tudor – does anyone else remember it?

    1. Christine says:

      Hi Cathy yes I do, I think Glynis Johns was Mary I loved it it was called The Sword And The Rose I think?

      1. Eve Molyneux says:

        I, too remember the movie “The Sword & the Rose” – it was my favorite as a child! Years later at a yard sale I found the movie on tape & purchased it. Glynis Johns played Mary Tudor & Richard Todd played Charles Brandon. Yes, I still own a VCR so I can relive my childhood at will! The Tudor period is such a fascination & fact is stranger than fiction – you can not make this stuff up, as they say. One needs a scorecard to keep up with the intrigues, marriages, battles, etc. It’s delicious!
        Claire, I love your site & can’t wait for the next installments. Your attention to detail as a historian truly brings this period to life & one can get totally lost in it. Thank you so much for your dedication & satisfying our appetite for this extraordinary era.

  30. Kayle says:

    I have always found Charles Brandon to be fascinating. I like his story and would love to know more about him and his life.

  31. Tina Cefaratti says:

    It must have been in the water! Old joke. It seems to me, nothing was sacred in your marriage vows in those days. Wives were a relatively tossed aside if a heir apparent, and a spare or two, were not in the cards, for that male to pass down his title. Disease was also rampant for the young and mid-age.

  32. Lady Jules says:

    Great passage Sarah and thanks Claire for sharing! I have always found Brandon to be a fascinating character in history because of how deeply he loved his best friend King Henry VIII. Brandon comes across as a romantic with all the women in his life. But for me, he will always be remembered for surviving the harsh Tudor times including his friend’s troubles with marriages, accidents, and most importantly, religious reformation that changed the world. How he managed to upset Henry by marrying his sister and avoiding the tower is incredible! Brandon had his angels about him.

  33. Denise Duvall says:

    What happened to his first two daughters? I think Charles Brandon, thought first and foremost how the women, he was to marry, would benefit him financially and politically. Love came far down the list in importance, even with Mary Tudor.

  34. David Brandon says:

    I seem to be a direct descendant of Charles Brandon… illegitimate son of Charles. I came to this website looking to get some idea of who the mistress may have been of Charles who would be my great*grandmother. You mention above there being mistresses. Would you have any more information who they were and more specifically who the mother of Charles would be?

    1. KC Brandon says:

      From every thing ive read and looked into there is no information on Charles’s mother. Even his exact date of birth is unknown only that he was born before 1521. Also same as you im a direct descendant of Charles Brandon and was trying to find information on Sir Charles Brandon’s mistress

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