Did Charles Brandon have a French mistress?

Feb8,2021 #Charles Brandon

In this edition of “Fan Questions”, questions asked by my YouTube viewers, I answer a question about Showtime’s “The Tudors” series.

Annette from Michigan, US, wanted to know about a storyline concerning Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, in Season 4 of The Tudors. Did Charles Brandon really have a French mistress who accompanied him back to England?

Find out the answer to this question, and whether Suffolk was really estranged from his wife, Catherine Willoughby, at this time, in this talk.

Here are the other videos on Suffolk and/or Catherine Willoughby:

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26 thoughts on “Did Charles Brandon have a French mistress?”
  1. Charles Brandon might have had the odd mistress but definitely not one in his later years and we know that he was surrounded by his wife and daughters when he died.
    It was a great storyline because in the Tudors his marriage was destroyed when Brandon was ordered to kill men, women and children during the Pilgrimage of Grace, which was really led by Norfolk. Charles led the army in Lincolnshire and no massacres took place, although a number were executed. Most of them were after a trial but no doubt as examples others were strung up. Now Henry did send his commanders such a letter but he later changed his mind and it was meant as a means of terror, not actually as orders, because negotiation and a pardon followed. The retribution followed a second rebellion.

    There isn’t any evidence that Brandon randomly rounded people up but he did meet out justice in the North. He acted later as the King’s Lieutenant in Lincolnshire and moved there until the end of his life. Both Charles and Katherine Willoughby were favourites of Henry and often at Court. The three may even have formed a love triangle with Henry fancying Katherine as a future wife after Brandon died. So maybe Katherine had a mistress, the King. There’s no real evidence for any break either and in fact Suffolk wrote to Henry from his wife’s house during a break from the trials there, ending with a note about his affection for his wife who was pregnant at the time. Katherine gave Brandon two sons, Henry born in 1535 and Charles born in 1537. Both boys were brilliant and went to University. Unfortunately in 1551 they both died of the sweat within hours of each other, their distraught mother at their bedside.

    I love these questions and this was a really good one because earlier in his life Charles did have several affairs, mostly in between marriages. However, he did abandon his first wife and had to be forced to return to her. His complex love life caused him to be married to two women at the same time and Wolsey had to sort it out. He was betrothed to Lady Elizabeth Grey, a child when he married the King’s sister. He married without Henry’s leave. I don’t know. In the Tudors Brandon slept with everyone. So it’s easy to think he might have had a French mistress but no, this time he behaved himself.

  2. Charles Brandon KG 1st Duke of Suffolk was married four times what a lad, he also was a bit of a rarity at the Tudor court – he died in his bed, a lifelong friend of Henry V111’s he was also his brother in law, but he had incurred his wrath for marrying his sister clandestinely, Mary Tudor being a princess had to ask permission of the king to marry, but she had fallen in love with Brandon, and after leaving the French court when her husband the old King Claude had died she eloped with Brandon and married him, the king was incensed the council were incensed and they asked Wolsey to soothe it over with the king, this ill conceived plan meant the couple were fined twenty four thousand pounds a huge sum of money in those days, but they were spared the Tower at least, this was his third marriage and with Mary he had won a great prize for himself, for not only was she royal, she was beautiful and spirited and Henry V111 was very fond of her, their marriage was a success and they had three children, Lady Frances Lady Eleanor and Lord Henry Brandon, his heir and possibly named after his uncle the king, he died tragically young, both Charles and Mary were friends of Katherine of Aragon and hated Anne Boleyn for usurping her place as queen, after she fell Brandon was at her execution and it was noted he did not kneel like the rest of the crowd did, Mary pre deceased her husband
    and it is believed it was from the sweating sickness, in The Tudors she died of tuberculosis and strangely enough she was called Margaret who was her elder sister and Queen of the Scots, another inaccuracy on the part of the Tudors, it was wonderful drama though and was not I think intended to be taken seriously, Alison Weir herself said it was good drama but wildly inaccurate, and another thing they made a boob on was the costumes, Brandon could well have been a bit of a womaniser, he was said to be good looking and did well at the joust, he was Henry V111’s carousing companion, and whilst the French mistress he abducted during the Seine of Boulogne was fiction, nothing more he is noted as having three bastard children, Lady Frances who strangely enough was the name of his legitimate daughter, Lady Mary and a son, after Mary’s death he married his young ward Katherine Willoughby who was the daughter of Maria de Salinas a dear friend of Katherine of Aragon, though half Spanish she did not care for the Catholic religion and became very interested in reform, holding meetings at her house it is a wonder she never caused trouble for herself and her family, there were rumours about Katherine and the king it is true, Henry did like her company and it is believed had Catherine Parr gone the way of Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard, then he would make Katherine his wife, she was attractive intelligent and brave quite feisty, deadly she lost her two beloved sons of the dreadful sweat, they both died on the same day as Bq states and both Charles and Katherines grief must have been dreadful, Charles did do well at court, he was a good soldier and a loyal friend and life long companion of Henry V111, he kept his head when many lost theirs and died in his bed, he was married nearly as many times as Henry V111, and had been a father to eight children, his joint portrait with his wife Princess Mary shows him looking serious and very distinguished looking, he has the fashionable long beard and quite a heavy nose, it is possible his eldest daughter Frances inherited his looks, although Charles was described as handsome Frances was not, facing him on the left is his third wife Mary the Duchess of Suffolk and ex queen consort of France, her face is a perfect oval with creamy skin and chestnut hair, she has a long straight nose a perfect rosebud of a mouth and light coloured arched eyebrows, she was called a paradise by one Frenchman, and was said to have tired out King Louis with her lovemaking, but obviously she did not tire out Charles Brandon, Claire said ‘still my beating heart’ in her video and I agree with her, the actor who played Brandon in The Tudors Henry Cavill is gorgeous, in fact he was one of the reasons why I watched it, although Jonathan Rhys Meyers is gorgeous as well.

  3. Charles was definitely a bit of a lad as a young man and he couldn’t even remember who he waa supposed to be married to.
    His first wife, Anne Browne, a daughter of the first Anthony Browne, was married to him when very young and the couple may not have had a public wedding but such marriages were recognised by canon law. He left her with baby no one, Anne, then he was dragged before the Church Court and the King, Henry Vii and forced to marry his wife publicly, this time having another daughter, Mary. His wife died in 1514, but this is were it gets interesting.

    In between marriage one and two to Anne Browne, Brandon made a business arrangement with Margaret Mortimer, his second wife, marrying her instead. She was his Aunt and the marriage was annulled. However, Charles forgot to finalise everything and Margaret would turn up to haunt him in 1527/8 when he was married to Mary Tudor. He was also promised to his ward, Lady Elizabeth Grey, Lady Lisle and created Lord Lisle in 1514 in her name. He was also made Duke of Suffolk in the same year.

    However, the girl was eight years old and he had to wait for a few years before he could marry her and gain her inheritance. That didn’t happen because Mary Tudor, the sister of King Henry Viii, his best bud, who was married to Louis xii of France aged 18, became a widow on 1st January 1515. Charles was sent to bring her home and instead, Mary wept and begged and brow beat him into marrying her. The couple were actually in love, a fact well known to King Henry, who made Charles pronise not to marry her in France. He had also promised Mary she could marry whom she wished after Louis died. However, Henry had a new alliance in mind and wanted to wed Mary to Charles of Castile, the future Charles V.

    So Charles and Mary were wed and as Christine said this caused a stink and the couple were paying that fine for the rest of their lives. They were married three times, twice in France and once in a public ceremony in England, attended by Henry and Queen Katherine. There are numerous letters from this period which give us the full story and show the desperate state Mary and Charles found themselves in with the King. Henry forgave them and they both spent much time between Court and home. Henry was always at Westhorpe and felt at home there. Henry, Francis and Eleanor followed and his two daughters from his first marriage also came to live with him and Mary.

    In 1527/8 Margaret Mortimer turned up and said that she was still his wife. The thing is she couldn’t get hold of her inheritance and was short of money. Charles was in a panic and the King had Wolsey sort out the marriage, providing proof it was dissolved and Charles aided his second wife in her financial and inheritance problems. In the end it was all resolved and Margaret received her rights. Mary and Charles were confirmed as legally wed and the legitimacy of their children was no longer in doubt.

    Although we don’t know the exact date his illegitimate children were born, Charles had at least three, most probably before he married Mary. He could well have been unfaithful and he did fall out with Mary over Henry’s affairs with Anne Boleyn and their marriage. He also fell out with the King and was banished as a result. He accused Anne of sleeping with Thomas Wyatt and she accused him of sleeping with his own daughter. This was nonsense and Henry didn’t take it seriously. Mary bad mouthed Anne a bit too much, causing a fatal quarrel between the retainers of Suffolk and those of Norfolk. In 1532 the two groups clashed near the Sanctuary at Westminster. Swords were drawn and Richard Southall, the man of Norfolk killed William Pemberton the man of Suffolk. Brandon set out to drag the offenders out of Sanctuary but was stopped. Southall and the others brought a pardon and came out of Sanctuary. Brandon paid for Pemberton to be buried himself. His hatred of Anne Boleyn only grew stronger. He even refused to accompany Henry and Anne to France but a visit from the King changed his mind. Mary lay dying of tuberculosis, not the sweat, in May and June 1533, and Charles left the coronation celebrations of the new Queen to race home to his dying wife. Henry sent her a letter and some strewberries but Mary died a few weeks later. She was buried in Bury Saint Edmunds but moved to the Church of the Virgin Mary when the Abbey was dissolved by her brother.

    Brandon married his last wife, Katherine Willoughby, who was about 14 and he 49, on 7th September 1533 in Greenwich Palace, the same day that Anne gave birth to Princess Elizabeth. He may have needed her fortune and she was his ward. He originally had intended Katherine for his teenage son who died in March 1534, but his son must have being showing signs of fatal illness for Charles ended their relationship and married the girl himself. It is likely that they didn’t consummate the marriage straight away and Katherine gave birth to their first son in the Summer of 1535. Tge marriage was successful and Charles helped in the dispute between Katherine and her Uncle Christopher over the Willoughby fortune. He was sympathetic towards Katherine of Aragon, despite his struggle with her in 1534. He also aided Maria de Salinas in her struggle for her rights as a widow. As the friend of Katharina of Aragon and the mother of jis fourth wife Maria influenced much that they did and believed. Maria was with Queen Katherine when she died in January 1536. It is said that she shared her grave after her own death. Katherine followed the reformed faith, was a good friend to Queen Katherine Parr and Charles apparently was tolerant towards these things. Alexander Seton, a Scottish Evangelical oo the run from Scotland, died in his house in 1542. Katherine became increasingly more and more into the Reformation but there was no rift between her and Charles. We don’t know if he had a mistress during the 1540s but the story of the French lady from Bolougne in 1544 is made up. Charles in the Tudors was portrayed as sleeping with every woman he met, he was shown asking the Queen of France into his bed and in an uncompromising position with the daughter of the Duke of Buckingham. Whilst he obviously did have the odd mistress, his reputation as an uncontrolled womaniser is far from the truth.

  4. His marital history was nearly as complicated as Henry V111’s, and yes where television and novels are concerned, these historical figures are always portrayed as more dashing more beautiful, and lustful than they actually were, in The Tudors Jane Seymour looked more like a pin up girl tall blonde and slender, in reality she was short quite plump and plain, regarding Princess Mary, I’m not sure but I have read conflicting stories on the nature of her final illness, one theory is that she died from the sweat, there is still a debate raging today about Prince Arthur’s death and what it was that eventually killed him.

    1. Hi, Christine, that’s actually interesting about Mary and the Sweat; do you know where you read about it? It’s interesting because the Sweat was only known to be in England during a few periods, 1485,_no it didn’t arrive with Henry Tudors army, that’s a myth, I am afraid, but it was here during the Summer 1485 and early 1486; 1501 and 1502,_1517/8, 1528, 1551/2 and bingo no official records since. A number of variations really have some historians going potty because they were similar to the Sweat. A number of influenza type epidemics are similar to the Sweat and Covid is as deadly as it, if not worse. Covid doesn’t kill as quickly but we have developed antibodies our ancestors didn’t have because they survived the Sweat and Plague. However, I doubt that Mary Tudor died of the Sweat because it would have swept through her household and London at the time of the most public event of the decade, the coronation of Anne Boleyn. Mary had been ill for a number of years, her symptoms included coughing up blood and Charles would not have been allowed to return if his wife died of the Sweat. TB was known be infectious and inherited. There are of course, many different varieties and it would be interesting to know more about this particular strain as it appears to have been a Tudor family inheritance. Was it a Beaufort/Tudor mix or a York/Tudor mix? Did it affect females rather than males? Was Henry himself a carrier but didn’t get the fatal disease? Was it randomly genetic and did it develop in both sexes and what genetic ratio did it affect? Was it one in three, four, eight, so on?

      The family of Henry Viii apparently had this genetic form of tuberculosis running through it, tragically, affecting, Margaret and Mary, Henry’s sisters, but not Henry himself. It probably affected Henry Fitzroy, his illegitimate son and his legitimate son, Edward, while not developing in his daughters. Some historians believe Henry Vii died of pulmonary TB and pneumonia, others of similar but long-standing illnesses. Prince Arthur was ill until the last few months of his life, but there was a notion based on a question asked after the consummation/none consummation of his marriage with Princess Katharina by his father. The list of questions to his doctors was to assure Henry that the young couple were able to continue living together. Sex was considered bad for teenagers and that was the only concern, that Arthur had not exerted himself. Sean Cunningham, the most recent expert on Arthur, doesn’t believe Arthur was suffering from a long-term illness at the time of his marriage and has dismissed speculation that Arthur was sickly. In fact neither Edward vi or his posthumous uncle where sickly as children or before the age of fourteen and fifteen. They both declined in health during their last six months, however. This too might be a genetic trait. Edward had also contracted smallpox and measles the previous year, making his immune system useless. The debate over how Prince Arthur died has given us several very different causes, consumption, the plague or sweat, both possible as Katherine also became unwell, testicular cancer and meningitis. The health of this weird Tudor family really is a family affair that won’t yield its secrets any time soon. Henry Viii is considered very lucky not to have inherited the family illness that killed his sisters. Mary was fairly well most of her life but she grew increasingly ill during 1532 for certain and was in rapid decline in 1533. This means she most probably couldn’t have died of the Sweat. Not that it precludes her catching it as well, but the fact that no cases of Sweat are recorded at this time, no outbreaks are known, the coronation of the pregnant Anne Boleyn proceeded in the Summer, in the heat of London, in the middle of the crowds, all these point to Mary having the dreadful Sweat highly unlikely. It would make it very interesting if she did, as single or small clusters of such illnesses are practically unknown. The Tudors had a very peculiar personal history of health and disease, they had gynaecological problems as well and possibly rare blood disorders, passed onto the Stuarts and sadly it cost Queen Anne the deepest and saddest loss of all seventeen of her children. One son did survive, living until he was eleven, George who caught smallpox and died. We might never unlock the secrets of the Tudors and their sad history of premature death and loss but we will be talking about them for centuries to come. Hell maybe they really were cursed, they had, after all stolen the throne by forced or they really had the blood disorders associated with Henry’s later paranoia. It’s a mystery and long may it remain so.

  5. Yes the Tudors certainly were unlucky when it came to their health, and I don’t think it came from the Plantagenets as they had no problem siring children and were known to be quite fit and healthy, genetic illnesses can pop up in later generations so could it have come from their mixed Tudor/ French ancestry? Could Owen Tudor had passed on some deadly disease which caused many of their descendants to die young or like you say could it have come from the Beaufort’s? There was mental illness from their French ancestry via Katherine de Valois and certainly Henry V111 descended into paranoia and became a tyrant in his later years, but he was not insane and he did suffer two bad head injuries which more than likely was the cause, an important factor is that his daughter Mary 1st also appeared to act rather merciless when she dealt with the heretics, sending many to their deaths in the flames and yet she did not suffer from head injuries, I don’t think Mary suffered from paranoia like her father Henry V111 yet she did pursue the heretics with a vengeance her husband Philip of Spain thought quite shocking, however apart from the Tudors psychological profiles (Edward V1 and Jane Grey we’re also Protestant zealots) it was their physical health which is the most fascinating, they did appear to have gynaecological problems although Princess Mary and her sister Margaret were fertile, Margaret lost some children but she had a son and a daughter who survived, Mary had four and her two daughters went on to have families themselves, Arthur died so we do not know if he would have had the same problem with his offspring like his younger brother, like his niece Edward he was not sickly that is true, he caught some disease which caused him to waste away, it is said this was the same wasting disease that killed young Edward and Fitzroy, it was assumed to be TB for many years yet all three lads died in their teens therefore it could have been something much more sinister, an illness that only affects teenagers maybe? Several theories have been put forward to explain the deaths of Arthur and Edward, yes I have heard Arthur could have been suffering from testicular cancer or could it have been malaria, Henry caught this and survived but suffered another attack later on, because Katherine was unwell during Arthur’s final illness it could have been infectious not genetic, or it could simply be a coincidence that Katherine was ill to, whatever Arthur had his death shocked the king and queen as it was totally unexpected, throughout his life Henry V111 was robust and Katherine had no problem getting pregnant but so many babies died that Henry as we know began to question his marriage, with Anne Boleyn she also lost two babies (one is a mystery) but she was only able to have one healthy baby a girl Elizabeth, she died whilst still at a childbearing age so we do not know if she had been able to have anymore children, all we do know is Henry V111 although strong healthy and vigorous was not lucky with his offspring, and his only two male offspring that survived did not make it to their 17/18 year, if there was something in the Tudor genes wherever it came from, that was the cause for all the infant fatalities of both Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, for the deaths of Prince Arthur and his two nephews then it does for the time being remain a mystery, it is impossible trying to diagnose illnesses so far back but records of their symptoms do help and many theories have been suggested as the cause of Edwards illness, it is commonly agreed amongst medical men today that his immune system did suffer when he had a bout of chicken pox and measles the year before he died and had he caught TB he would have been unable to fight it of, his symptoms suggested he did suffer from TB with the dreadful hacking cough that accompanies it, he also brought up green sputum that smelt foul, his body wasted away he had no energy and he broke out in ulcers all over his body, yet upto the last few years of his life he was healthy, if the Tudors had indeed been cursed as Bq suggests they did at least have brilliant minds, musical and bilingual possessed of great academic ability, Edward was said to be a child prodigy along with his cousin Lady Jane Grey, and all the Tudor monarchs proved to be strong rulers and more colourful than any of their predecessors and successors, that followed after.

    1. The Plantagenet line wasn’t as strong as it had been towards the end because a number of Edward iv’s children had genetic problems. Now we don’t know the fate of the Princes in the Tower, aka Edward v and Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York but we do know its doubtful that Edward would have lived past 15 or 16 either because he had bone diseases, which had killed other family members before that age. We also know thatthe line was probably contaminated due to inter marriage by now and although Edward married outside of the royal line, his family going to run out, partly because of the peculiar situation of 1483, but also because of ill health and premature death. Even though he and Elizabeth Woodville came from and had extremely large families, were both very fertile, they still lost children, which was normal, but also they saw a history of early teenage deaths from bone disease. The next generation seem to have had the real problems, with four infant deaths and it all accumulated with Henry Viii.

      Owen Tudor had four healthy sons, but we can’t really know their history afterwards because Edmund died in prison and Jasper only married later in life and had no children by a woman who had already born four with another man. A daughter became a nun and a son either became a monk or the David Owen of legend, whose family is unknown. If this is the case then the genetic code is probably jumping a generation as the affected generation are all grandchildren.

      There is also a dwindling number of sons surviving by the time of the Tudors and Plantagenet mixed. Edward for example was one of four adult sons who lived, but he only had two sons out of ten children, plus a baby called George who died aged two. Elizabeth and Henry lost two male children, Arthur from illness and Edmund mysteriously. By the time of Henry Viii, they are all dying. Richard iii and Anne Neville only produced one child, Edward who died of a childhood illness aged eight or ten. They were cousins, as were their parents. The Lancaster line wasn’t much better. Katherine of Aragon had problems bearing healthy children and her mother did as well. Isabella had four daughters and one son and guess what, he died in early adulthood. So we are talking now of the union of two houses with a recent history of dwindling sons and genetic issues. Its not surprising that by the time Mary married in her later 30s that the poor lady had no children at all. Mary also had irregular periods and possibly, no as someone who has suffered from it, I am calling it, Mary had endometriosis. Her mother and grandmother probably did as well. We don’t know if Elizabeth could have children or not, the fact that she was potentially capable as her doctors claimed, was no guarantee of any successful outcome.

      I know most of this is speculation but the medical issues of the Tudors allows us to take a much closer look at the fertility of the Plantagenet line and you realise that they too are suffering from increasing difficulties producing healthy sons. I believe Henry Viii was extremely lucky to have escaped TB but there was obviously something affecting his children. Katherine and Anne got pregnant on a regular basis but the outcome of those pregnancies was a sad story of loss and despair. Both women had one healthy daughter and their sons died in the womb or shortly after birth. There can be no greater or more traumatic loss than that of a baby. Katherine was blessed with a healthy son in January 1511 but he too was taken by cot death. With Henry she was devastated, as were Elizabeth of York and Henry Tudor at the loss of Prince Arthur. Aged 37, the serene Queen died herself as a result of childbirth complications. Henry never remarried.

      Whether the origins of all this decline in health and reproduction came from the Plantagenet side or Owen Tudor or through the madness of French ancestors, it is impossible to determine after several hundred years. Infant mortality was higher then than in many centuries before and only the Victorian age outdid this one. However, it is not just infant loss with the Tudors, its both extreme infant loss and the death of nearly every male before the age of 16. That is exceptional even for their time. The human tragedy reaches out across the centuries and still hits us today. Death might have been just around the corner in a period before antibiotics but that doesn’t make it less poignant or easier to live with, than death and loss today.

      1. The strange thing about cot deaths is they nearly always run in families, the cause is a mystery as much today as it was hundreds of years ago, and medical science seems to be no nearer in solving the mystery, a friend of mine lost her baby boy years ago, perfectly healthy she left him strapped in the car whilst she went to the supermarket with her sister, when they returned they found him dead, both were in a terrible state as you can imagine, and luckily there was a nurse nearby who immediately came over, she told my friend to never ever blame herself, these things just happen and no one is to blame, she went on to have several healthy children and is now a grandmother, I recall my father saying once that it is quite normal in families to lose at least one child, my maternal grandmother lost her first child a boy within a year of his birth, but she went on to have eleven others, and my paternal grandmother also lost a son about one to two years, yet she had five other healthy children, they could have been cot deaths I am not sure, but it is a mystery and in this century there were a family who tragically lost all their children to sudden infant death syndrome as it is called, dreadfully for them they also came under suspicion and the babies deaths were investigated, they had about four children, and I cannot imagine anything worse than losing them and then being suspected of causing their deaths, with the Tudors young Edward V did suffer from osteomyelitis in his lower jaw which must have caused the poor lad a lot of misery, the royal doctors were tending him in the Tower as the records state and it is believed Henry V111 suffered from this to in his leg or both legs, with his ulcers the pain must have been terrible at times, the Tudors were really unlucky with their genes, it could also have been the result of inbreeding down the generations, to keep the blood pure they all married their cousins or great nieces and nephews, they should have married outside their family trees and gone for good peasant stock, country lads with their rippling muscles were known for siring healthy sons, and country women could have a baby in the fields and carry him or her home wrapped in a shawl, the poorer classes were said to be of sterner stuff than those born with a silver spoon in their mouth, it’s a bit like dogs really, the mongrel is tough rarely gets ill and can live till their pretty old, yet the fine breeds like poodles and chihuahuas and pugs and, I could go on and on, are much more delicate, and are prone to more illnesses, which of course does make quite a large hole in their owners purse or wallet.

        1. I remember that family who lost all of their children, they were investigated for years before the mystery was resolved. How terrible to be suspected of killing your own child when you haven’t done anything wrong. They had to wait before they could bury their children each time and I remember they were in the news every time it happened. It was because of their case that research began into SIDS as its called now. When you think that its just as simple as the baby rolling onto its side and suffocating, its frightening. Fortunately we now know how to prevent it by laying the baby flat on their back, loose blankets, no pillows.

          Your poor friend, that’s terrible, leaving the baby healthy and coming back to find he had died. Heat in the Summer is deadly for children and animals in cars so you must always leave the window open. It must have been a terrible shock and you can’t but blame yourself, its only natural. You worry did you miss something or do something. Terrible thing to go through. Yes, my Aunt, my dad’s sister in law had five children by my Uncle, but Patricia was a twin. Her sister died when she was a few months old. She sensed her loss but didn’t know anything about it until she was older. I remember them telling me and was amazed. Her name was Alexandra. I also have another cousin because my Aunt was married before, ironically to another one of my dad’s cousins. I have only met Anthony a few times. Now the clan are all over the World.

          My nan was also one of seven surviving children but three were lost in infancy. We are so lucky today to be able to able to give birth in safe hospital environments and have good health care for parents and children. We are a very lucky generation.

  6. Bq you asked me about Princess Mary and where I read she may have had sweating sickness, i cannot remember but you are correct of course had she suffered from the sweat it would have been recorded as it’s outbreaks were, and her husband and children would have left house, another theory is cancer, she died young really, like some of the Tudors.

  7. Twins are a medical mystery and there is always one that is more frail than the other, not so robust, the older the mother is, the more likely she is to have twins, my aunt had her twin sons when she was around thirty, but they do run in families as well, conjoined twins Siamese twins as they are called are a rarity, in Victorian times they earned their living by performing in the circus, there was the two headed lady, called Millie Christine conjoined at the torso, they were the children of African slaves toured the world and performed for Queen Victoria, they were said to sing like the nightingale so sweet were their voices, you get identical twins who love to play tricks on their elders as many cannot tell them apart, they say that many of us do have a twin that is in the womb with us, when we are just a foetus yet they become weak and die, the stronger surviving, that is quite common with your cousin, never knowing her twin yet sensing her loss, many twins who have lost their twin sister or brother say all their life they experience a sense of loss.

    1. Twins also have identical DNA of course but they have different fingerprints, the only way they can be told apart. Identical twins, those born the same day, usually minutes apart, some scientists believe have the same intuition and can sense things, although in testing results are usually low. There is also some psychic link, which cannot be explained by scientists and although testing was low, about 20% showed a real link, while none twins siblings showed a link in 8% of testing cases, there are a number of things nobody can explain. So, for example, how do you explain the case where twins, separated at birth, growing up miles away from each other, suddenly sense they are not complete, feel the pain of a lost brother or sister and realise they are part of a set of twins. We don’t know anything about how this is possible and normally the siblings are correct and may become reunited. Tragically in a few cases one twin was sensing the death of their sibling. There was a famous case in the 1970s of a girl of fifteen, an American tennis player who suffered from unexplained stabbing pains and a strange wound in her leg. She also had dreams of another girl of her age and looks who was laying somewhere and was injured in the same leg. For days she was in a fever but one morning she sat up and pointed to a news article about a missing girl who was 15 and lived in England. She had been missing for a couple of weeks and had been lost while on a school trip in South America, a cultural trip on which she had wandered off. She said the girl was injured and needed help. The girl was her spitting image. At her insistence her parents contacted the authorities because their daughter was adopted. To cut a long story short a search was made of a particular area described by the girl which was some miles from the spot the other girl had gone missing. She was actually found, barely alive, a poisonous wound in her leg and her life saved. When the two girls met several weeks later the fact that they looked like twins soon became clear. Her parents had given her sister up for adoption because they couldn’t keep both girls. DNA wasn’t possible but blood tests proved the girls were indeed the separated twins. The sisters kept in touch and a lifetime relationship was formed. Nobody could explain how or why the twin in America had experienced what she did but it became one for study over a number of years. Twins do appear to have some kind of psychological link and do know if they lost a sibling in the womb. Aunt Barbara was older when Tricia was born and Alexandra lived a few months. They were also the youngest children. I went to school with identical twin girls, they had two older sisters and two younger. They were very much alike at first but very different in the way they behaved and in their personality. Karen was very shy and never said very much in the first year of school, never answered the register until the last day. Joan was calm but confident and answered for her. It was really very odd. As they grew up of course they became more distinctive and Karen actually went a bit wild. I think the link is because they were the same egg and part of the same womb and the same mental link was formed at that time. Twin studies are very widespread but rarely give high results, yet they are still fascinating. On the other hand science doesn’t tell us everything.

  8. I think I heard that story about the twin who was injured very fascinating, there was another case in England about two identical twin girls who both developed an obsession with the same man, they would follow him everywhere and make his life hell, eventually they were taken to court for stalking, and they baffled the judge and the prosecution witness because they both answered in union together, they also had the same character and gestures, it was some years ago and I think a psychologist examined them and their story really is quite bizarre, Hitler himself had tests done on twins and they do remain to this day a mystery.

    1. There is a famous portrait of twin sisters who are naked from the Elizabethan Era, with one of them having a hand on the nipple of the other. They are obviously trying to allure the same man. The Tudors played on this by having twin sisters firstly run after Thomas Tallis and then in a scene mimicking the famous portrait, waiting for George Boleyn in his bed. Both men are also shown as having homosexual relationships with other men, which of course were all complete liberties as we don’t have a clue if they were bisexual or not. George was also shown as having a very unhappy marriage and raping his wife. Tallis has a relationship with Joan from the twins who died of the Sweat and then of her sister, Jane afterwards. Tallis also has a relationship with William Compton, who most certainly wasn’t gay in any sense who also died of the Sweat. We know all of these relationships are fake because Tallis wasn’t yet at Court and wouldn’t be for several years. There is also another famous portrait of two Elizabethan ladies, twins, who also have babies at the same time, also shown in the portrait.

      Wouldn’t it be just fantastic to be a twin and either go to work in turns or to appear in Court in turns and cause complications? You could confuse your boyfriend quite happily as a twin. Imagine if your partner kissed your twin by mistake, oh dear lol. Hitler was evil, the sort of horrible experiments he did could only be terrible for the people he tested. He wanted a master race and I can just imagine the sort of horrendous experiments this evil regime carried out on so many thousands of human beings, who of course died. One use for twins in many countries in wartime was as spies. One twin would remain home and pass intelligence while the other worked in the field and vice versa. Today they are still used for espionage, especially by the FBI. It is fascinating and a mystery many of the things around twins, not how they are made of course, but their apparent psychic link is being researched at every opportunity.

  9. Yes I read a story of two identical twin girls who would swap places with each other to attempt to fool their boyfriends and parents and teachers, it must be fun to be an identical twin, that painting you mention of the Elizabethan twins do you know who it’s by and what it’s called, I’m intrigued now I want to study it.

    1. The Cholmondeley Ladies is the famous portrait of two apparently twin sisters, born on the same day, married on the same day, gave birth to sons on the same day and died on the same day. Recently some experts have said they aren’t sisters because the eyesare different colours but that doesn’t stop them being twins. This is a portrait not a Polaroid and the painter could have made an error. Twins can have slightly different eye colours and not all twins are identical, they are if they are the same sex. There is a portrait of two others in black, probably Lady Frances and Lady Martha Howard.

      It took me absolutely ages to find the other and it was French, one was the mistress of Henry iv of France.

      Portrait présumé de Gabrielle d’Estrées et de sa soeur la duchesse de Villars

      Gabrielle de Estrees was a famous mistress of King Henry iv and she was shown in a tub with her twin sister, who had a different hair colour, but was definitely her twin. The sisters are naked in a bath tub and one has her hand on the nipple of the other. The point os not sexual but to point out Gabrielle is carrying the Royal child. Her sister is showing her as fertile and that she carries the gift of life for the care of her child. Unfortunately, the portrait in modern times has been misinterpreted and claimed by the LGBT lot as two lesbians, regardless of them being sisters. In the portrait Gabrielle holds Henry’s coronation ring which he gave her. She was her most important mistress and very influential.

  10. I am reading a book at the moment on Joan, Lady of Wales which was recently published and is excellent. As the illegitimate but recognised daughter of King John and later sister of Henry iii her role as wife and Queen of Llewellen the Great was greatly enhanced. She was a diplomatic, highly regarded and held real status and power. The author was actually one of the speakers at the Mortimer Society Conference which was online this year on the status of women in medieval Wales. Of course when it came to the questions everyone wanted to ask about her alleged affair with William de Braose vi. Given that he was a hostage and a nuisance and his father had committed atrocities as Marcher Lord there was clearly a political element around this affair. Tension was growing between England and Wales again and as someone suggested it might have been a honey trap as an excuse to execute De Braose and bring the other Lords into line. At the end of the day Llewellen could do that with a hostage if their family didn’t behave. That was the nature of exchanging hostages for good behaviour, it guaranteed peaceful relations but if one party broke the conditions, the other might retaliate by killing a hostage. High status people were sent to live with the enemy or allies and they were treated well and even educated in their ways. William may have been too close to Joan and was taught a horrible lesson.

    The affair probably didn’t actually take place but it did appear as if one had. Joan and William became quite close, but there is precious little evidence or information around this so called affair. Much is written a lot later and Llewellen learnt of it after he returned from hunting. The odd thing was where the couple were found together. Who has an affair in their husband’s Chambers? Anyway, that’s where they were caught apparently. William was publicly hanged, another oddity as he was noble but it said he was being seen as a common criminal, unworthy of a noble execution. Llewellen didn’t think much of him anyway. He did think much of the wife he had been married to for over 20 years, the mother of his son and heir and several other children.

    Joan was loved throughout the Kingdom. She was almost a naturalised Welsh woman. She had improved the status of women in her tenure and was highly honoured. Llewellen loved her. Joan was put under house arrest and confined for just over a year. However, in 1232 less than two years later, not only was she freed but elevated to Lady of Wales. The title was unique and it is more or less a formal making of her as Queen. All of her titles are unique to Wales and Llewellen himself was elevated above the other Princes. Her son David was officially now the recognised heir and I see that as proof that Llewellen accepted that Joan was innocent. It doesn’t do much for poor William de Braose vi but it is rather odd that a husband whose wife had committed adultery would receive such honour, let alone be freed from confinement.

    Joan was to live and reign at the side of Llewellen, bringing him more and more prestige until her death in 1237. She was buried in the Abbey which she founded on Anglesey, her coffin is now in the Parish Church at Beaumaris. Llewellen died in 1240 and his own sarcophagus is in Llanrwst Parish Church. The destruction of the Abbeys by Henry Viii means that their bodies are lost. The Franciscan Abbey Joan was laid to rest in had a beautiful view over the Menai Straits.

  11. Yes Joan married Prince Llewelyn of Wales, I have a direct line back to Llewelyn through his daughter Margaret Verch Llewelyn, I am not sure if Joan was her mother as he had a mistress and several bastards by her, but in the British Library there is a document that states Joan was her mother along with another daughter called Ellen and a son, thank you for your information about the Cholmondeley twins.

    1. Hi, Christine, I have only just begun the biography of Joan, so haven’t gotten to her children yet, but I do know she had several and so did Llewellyn and it was his eldest son who was his heir before Joan gave him their only legitimate son. The Law in Wales allowed illegitimate children to be equally heirs with legitimate ones. Joan persuaded him to make David his heir, showing her influence. The research took twenty years so if your ancestor was her daughter, the document is probably correct and that it’s in the British Library gives weight to its authenticity. I must admit , Christine, you do have the most remarkable set of ancestors. I am glad I could find some information on our twins.

      1. Most lists put Margaret as Joan’s daughter but others say we don’t know who her mother was. Joan is known to have had at least four children, three of whom were daughters, Gladys was one and Erin was another and Margaret was potentially the fourth. The problem was Llewellyn was that he had several children before Joan arrived and the interchangeable status of legitimate and illegitimate children, any of whom could inherit if they were male. Welsh law saw women as mere shackles and even a married woman had few rights, let alone property. Now that wasn’t really how it panned out as a married woman could end her marriage before seven years and say her husband couldn’t do it in bed. She could also say he had not provided for her and he could say she wasn’t a virgin but he had to prove it on the spot. He could divorce her for adultery before seven years and return her with her dowry and her morning gift. She was entitled to various things like a cow or the cart or individual items but if the law got involved it laid down who got what. For example the woman got the cart but he got the harness and she got the stones for baking bread and he got the turning table or she got the hammer and him the anvil. The idea was to make certain that people didn’t divorce as it was impossible to live apart as you didn’t have the tools to survive. If a couple separated after seven years, the couple divided everything by half. Women who were higher in status could exercise a certain amount of agency, being able to act on behalf of their husbands and alongside him and in his stead and in the household. Joan exercised extraordinary agency and lifted the status of women in Wales. Her influence was remarked upon in the Chronicles of her day and it’s really exciting to finally have an authoritative biography about her.

        1. Yes Joan was styled Lady Of Wales and apparently she was a go between for her husband and father, I to have always been very interested in her, King John was fond of her and she appears quite a spirited lady, her mother is a mystery and a French woman named Clemence has been named but there is no definitive proof, there is some irony to the fact that from another line I am also descended from William de Braose who was hung for his alleged adultery with her, it certainly is fascinating when you find you have royal and noble roots because you end up being descended from often the same person, or connected through other lineages, Princess Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon may well be my direct ancestors also through their daughter Lady Eleanor Clifford, but that has to be verified, so that old rotter Henry V111 could be my uncle many generations removed, can you tell me the author who has written the biography of Joan please Bq, because Iv searched for biographies on her but as yet have not been lucky, thank you.

  12. Joan, Lady of Wales by Danna R Messer. I did a really great post and I was just about to post it when it vanished into thin air. I don’t know what happened, boom off it went. I can remember most of it so will post it again later, when I can concentrate.

    1. Thanks Bq, I did google about Joan and that book came up, at the moment it’s £25 in hardback but I probably will buy it, I prefer hardback to paperback and do not have a kindle, I have done that gone to post a really long comment and it’s just disappeared, really annoying ! I then leave it for a couple of hours before I post again and it usually works then.

      1. Actually I may wait till the Work store opens, they do cut price books as well as craft things and jigsaws and soft toys, Iv often bought some books from there.

        1. It will drop in price on Amazon as more copies enter the market place. I think mine was a bit cheaper and it was a Valentines present. I usually just order something and tell him what he’s gotten me. That way I get what I want. My mum used to go to town to Marks and Spencer, get her Christmas present and give it to my dad to wrap. He would then ask me what she wanted as a surprise. It’s the only way to ensure you don’t end up with something really daft. One year he brought me a slate with a stand on it with two rings. It looked expensive and its in the cabinet but it really wasn’t my cup of tea. Don’t get me wrong, it is lovely, but really not something I would want. I just smiled, said thank you and put it in the display case. The next day the poor dear got me some flowers, much better. Men just don’t do presents well.

  13. Ha ha that reminds me of when my mum bought her Christmas present from dad it was a couple of work overalls from a little old shop in Palmers Green, it sold those old fashioned dinky curlers the ones made of wire that Hilda Ogden wore, she loved that shop because she said she couldn’t buy them anywhere else, she bought the overalls home wrapped them up and addressed them to herself, I said why bother she already knew what was in there, but you are right so many times you get those naff presents you don’t want, I think the best present is a voucher from your favourite shop then you can get what you want, our parents are gone now but me and my sister write out Christmas and birthday lists and we choose a few items from them, that way we get what we want, I know my dad used to say to me don’t get me anymore of the usual rubbish you get me, just give me money that’l do me, so I used to give him some money and a bottle of Remy Martin his favourite, and he was content with that, mum was much easier to buy presents for, at Christmas I got lots of jewellery items from my friends but they were all silver, and frankly I prefer gold, but of course it is the thought that counts and I would never be so churlish or rude to say I prefer gold to silver, yes I will wait for the book to come down, I was very pleased when in the pound shop I found a new novel about Catherine Howard selling price was about £15, so it really does pay to look around and wait.

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